FISH executive director to step down March 31
March 13, 2011
By Warren Kagarise
NEW — 8 a.m. March 13, 2011
Gestin Suttle, executive director of the Friends of the Issaquah Salmon Hatchery since 2003, has announced plans to resign from the organization at the end of the month.
Suttle, a Sammamish resident and a former journalist, has accepted a position as the public relations coordinator for the local YWCA organization.
“I am confident that I am leaving at an optimum time for FISH because it is on firm financial footing (in spite of the down economy), and this is a period of stability, with the extremely talented Celina Steiger about to celebrate her fourth year as our education coordinator and the very skilled Beverly Lee firmly beside her in the volunteer coordinator role,” Suttle wrote in a message to FISH members and donors Saturday.
The nonprofit organization has also launched a search for Suttle’s successor.
FISH conducts educational tours at the state-operated Issaquah Salmon Hatchery during fall salmon runs and the Salmon Days Festival. FISH members also assist in annual salmon-spawning activities and other programs.
Suttle served as a spokeswoman and advocate for the organization, and helped to secure government and corporate dollars to keep the group afloat in a tough economy. FISH finished 2010 in the black even as other nonprofit organizations in the area struggled.
Suttle joined FISH as executive director in April 2003 and soon became a sought-after source for information about the many projects related to the hatchery, including a program to boost the dwindling Lake Sammamish kokanee salmon population and efforts to save the Salmon in the Classroom program from state cuts.
“While it is difficult to leave, I am confident that FISH will continue to prosper and will remain the center of the Issaquah universe,” she wrote in the farewell message. “As I’ve said many times before, this community is so fortunate to have so many caring individuals willing to step up to maintain this important organization and hatchery. It’s been an absolute honor to be a part of this great team.”