FISH hires new executive director

May 31, 2011

By Warren Kagarise

Jane Kuechle spent many hours as a girl on family road trips to out-of-the-way Oregon places.

Jane Kuechle

“Wherever we went, we would stop whenever we saw a salmon hatchery,” she recalled.

Kuechle, a longtime leader in local nonprofit organizations, is about to spend more time at a salmon hatchery. The expert in fundraising and nonprofit management is the next executive director of Friends of the Issaquah Salmon Hatchery, the nonprofit group responsible for education and tours at the downtown hatchery.

Issaquah Mayor Ava Frisinger, FISH board president, said members selected Kuechle from more than 30 applicants.

“The board went through a very long and rigorous process of selecting people,” Frisinger said after announcing the appointment May 26.

Kuechle starts in the FISH role June 13 — during the lull before the autumn spawning season. The organization conducts educational tours at the state-operated Issaquah Salmon Hatchery during salmon runs and the Salmon Days Festival. FISH members also assist in annual salmon-spawning activities and other programs.

“They’ve done a tremendous job of getting it to where it is,” Kuechle said. “I thought, here’s an opportunity to take it to the next level.”

The long-term strategy she offered to the FISH board during the interview process impressed members.

“I talked about how I would try to do some long-range planning with them, looking at where we want this organization to be in three years, in five years,” she said. “That seemed to resonate with what they were looking for as well.”

Kuechle brings a collaborative management style and voluminous knowledge of the local nonprofit community — as well as social media savvy — to the FISH role.

In addition, she served last year on the Regional Transit Task Force, a group formed to plot a long-term vision for King County Metro Transit. Kuechle said she enjoyed serving on the task force because the position required members from diverse backgrounds to work together to achieve consensus. (Issaquah Councilman Fred Butler also served on the panel.)

Kuechle, a 27-year Issaquah resident, retired from full-time employment late last year after stints at United Way of King County and AtWork! The executive director position is part-time.

“I wanted to find a way to get involved in my own community,” she said.

Kuechle succeeds former FISH leader Gestin Suttle. The former journalist and Sammamish resident served as FISH executive director from April 2003 until March 2011, before joining YWCA Seattle-King-Snohomish.

Warren Kagarise: 392-6434, ext. 234, or wkagarise@isspress.com. Comment at www.issaquahpress.com.

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