Balance merges to form new architectural firm

Methow Valley architect Tom Lenchek of Balance Associates announced that Balance will merge with Prentiss Wickline Architecture to form Prentiss + Balance + Wickline, which will have its headquarters in Seattle. The newly merged firm already has more than 40 projects underway. Lenchek is a partner in the new firm, which has offices in Winthrop.

Balance Associates has designed many Methow Valley homes, including one featured on the cover of the Methow Home 2016 magazine.

New CEO at Family Health Centers

Jesus Hernandez is the new chief executive officer of Okanogan-based Family Health Centers of Okanogan County. He took over the position in March. Hernandez was previously the CEO of the Community Choice Health & Education Institute, where he was instrumental in securing state and federal grants benefiting regional health care systems.

Hernandez is a graduate of Washington State University and earned a master’s degree in public administration from the University of Washington.

Hernandez came to Washington state in 1979 at the age of 9 with his parents and four sisters. He benefited from the immigration amnesty of 1986, which allowed him to pursue higher education.

Hernandez served over 18 years on the school board of the Wenatchee School District and nine years on the state’s Higher Education Coordinating Board.

National park generates regional spending

A new National Park Service report shows that 825,441 visitors to North Cascades National Park Service Complex — which includes Lake Chelan National Recreation Area, North Cascades National Park, and Ross Lake National Recreation Area —  in 2015 spent $36,351,300 in communities near the parks. That spending supported 448 jobs in the local area and had a cumulative benefit to the local economy of $44,098,600, according to the report.

“National park tourism is a significant driver in the national economy, returning $10 for every $1 invested in the National Park System, and it’s a big factor in our local economy as well,” said North Cascades Superintendent Karen Taylor-Goodrich. “We appreciate the partnership and support of our neighbors and are glad to be able to give back by helping to sustain local communities.”