After six years at the helm of TwispWorks, former Executive Director Don Linnertz has stepped down, delivering the leadership of the organization dedicated to increasing the economic and cultural vitality of the Methow Valley into the capable hands of longtime valley resident Sarah Brown, who has served as Interim Executive Director since October 1.
Linnertz announced his retirement in April and TwispWorks initiated a search for a new ED, but no viable candidate emerged. Brown “brings a long-standing passion for community and economic development and positive social change,” a TwispWorks announcement said.
“TwispWorks is going to restart a search for a new ED,” Brown said, “but I’m here for the foreseeable future. I’m going to help hold things together and assist with the search.”
During his tenure, Linnertz helped TwispWorks achieve financial self-sufficiency, finished the campus buildout to include the new pavilion and performing arts center, the Methow Valley Goods Store, and an impending vocational-technical facility for Liberty Bell High School, the TwispWorks announcement said. He also spearheaded the Methow Valley Investment Network, which has invested more than $3 million into 20 new businesses and business acquisitions that employ nearly 100 people in the Methow Valley.
Brown has lived in the Methow Valley full time since 1998, after first visiting the valley as a member of a seasonal trail crew. She and her husband, Brian Fisher, are raising their two children here, with a couple of notable stints outside the valley: From 2017-2018 when Brown received a Fulbright fellowship to study rural social innovation in Hungary and in 2019-2020 when Brown completed her Master’s degree in Public Administration at Cornell University.
She has owned and operated a small family farm out of Carlton, as well as serving on the board of several local and regional nonprofit organizations, including Room One and the Methow Housing Trust.
She also recently worked with Resilient Methow to publish the Methow Valley Climate Action Plan.
Given her background in rural studies, Brown is well-positioned to lead TwispWorks’ economic recovery and revitalization efforts in the region. “With so many years of fires and then COVID, we’ve been in a period of regional economic instability,” Brown said. “TwispWorks wants to make sure the community and businesses can move toward thriving instead of just surviving.”