Wallowa Lake Lodge Management Board

Candidates in the May 2018 Board Member Election


Click a name to jump to a candidate's biography

When evaluating a candidate, please keep in mind that being an investor is not a prerequisite for membership on the Wallowa Lake Lodge Management Board.

David Albion

Investor and Founding Board Member

Dave is semi-retired from Casey Industrial, Inc, a nationwide industrial construction company originally based in Albany, Oregon, where he was vice-president of finance and chief financial officer for over 27 years. He served as president of the Lebanon Boys and Girls Club for over 4 years and still coaches local school teams. Dave and his wife Sherrie have maintained a second home on the west moraine of Wallowa Lake for the past 19 years and are proud supporters of Shake the Lake! They're both longstanding lodge patrons and among the company's largest investors.

Maria Belknap


I am from a heritage Oregon family, grew up in Portland and enjoyed summers of my youth in the high Wallowas where I rode and hiked the vast backcountry. Ultimately, while still in University in the late 70s and early 80s, I worked as a backcountry ranger for the Wallowa Whitman National Forest. My family acquired Lapover Ranch adjacent to the Eagle Cap Wilderness in 1976, a property which I have maintained since taking it over in the late 90s.

My university career was split between the University of Southern California where I minored in kinesiology and environmental studies and University of Oregon where I degreed in resource management.

Ultimately, I settled in Los Angeles in late 1981 carrying one suitcase and an entrepreneurial spirit. Since then, I co-owned and operated a number of successful full-service and fast food restaurants and bars in Beverly Hills and West Los Angeles, became a published author and adventure travel writer, manufactured costume jewelry in India for US distribution to such companies as Nordstroms, Urban Outfitters, Forever 21 and others, and ultimately, at the insistence of an attorney friend with an actress in need, found myself in the Business Management world where I built a business servicing clients in Film, Television, Music and Visual Arts.

I have spent some part of each of the last 50 years in the Wallowa Valley, most recently dividing my time between Los Angeles and the Wallowas since 1982. LA fulfills me financially, the Wallowas feed my spirit and nurture my soul.

If Investors feel my skill set will be of service to the success of the Lodge, I would be honored to be of service.

William Courtney


I am a second-generation Oregonian and was raised in Ontario Oregon. I am a graduate of Linfield College in McMinnville, Oregon and a US Navy veteran who served during the Vietnam Era.

An active Member of any Board of Directors needs a keen understanding of the business community built on experience, understanding of business, and leadership.

My working career after the military started in Bend, Oregon with SAIF Corporation where I was employed for fifteen years and left as the head of the Marketing Division. I eventually went into the private Insurance sector, which took me and my family from Oregon to Hawaii, Montana and Southern California.

My return to Oregon late in my insurance career completed the business circle. I served as the insurance company's Senior Executive Operating Officer in the position of President – Western Region overseeing a multi-million dollar budget, six offices with management and staff, and was the senior executive accountable for the growth and retention of the Region. The territory ranged in size from the Rocky Mountains to Guam. The comprehensive long and short term planning and goal setting coupled with the duties of execution of that plan to achieve the desired profit/loss margins were my responsibility while reporting to the Company CEO/President in Seattle. As Senior Vice President in the Honolulu, Hawaii office during the 1990's I led the team that created the service/retention program in hospitality for the company. The Pacific Region success allowed for the Argonaut National Hospitality Management Services (HMS) program to be launched on a companywide national basis. We grew the national foot print for HMS client insured properties to 440 properties and 56,400 rooms insured and 7% of Argonaut premium composition in four years.

Linda and I have been a part of the Wallowa County community for twenty years, and we are now retired in Joseph.

I pride myself on my integrity, willingness to do "whatever it takes" ability to set and meet goals with honesty and creativity. During my career in the insurance industry, I was a fiercely loyal manager who lead by example, stood up for the team, and believed wholeheartedly that teamwork and collaboration are the only ways to succeed.

Daniel Leonard

Investor and Founding Board Member

Dan is a graduate of the University of Kansas and Washington State University. During his career he has been recognized in the following ways: recipient of a National Defense Act Fellowship to WSU, Outstanding Biology Teaching Assistant, Joint Service Commendation Medal for Vietnam service by planning the American withdrawal including the disposition of 2 Billion dollars worth of U.S. assets, Board Member of the Idaho Education Association for 13 years and chair of the Budget Committee for 5 years, 4 years Member of the International Relations Committee of the National Education Association, Board Certified Science Teacher in 2001, American Biology Teacher of the Year 2002.

Following retirement he and wife Joyce invested in a vacation rental business at Wallowa Lake and expanded after five years to include ownership of the former home of Duane and Janey Wiggins, located directly east of the Wallowa Lake Lodge. Dan and Joyce have worked in the local hospitality industry for 15 years, maintaining and improving their properties. With many repeat customers and yearly increases in occupancy, their business is thriving. He was president of the local property owners association when the Lodge was available for purchase. He invited Mr. Monteith to speak to an association meeting, and Dan and Joyce were among the earliest investors in our LLC.

Following purchase of The Lodge, Dan has served as a member of the board, focusing on identification of facilities needs for maintenance and repair as well as Board Secretary. Dan’s personal goal is for The Lodge to be in prime condition in all ways, and to have experienced, excellent staff for the 100th anniversary of the lodge in 2023.

Sondra Lozier

Investor and Founding Board Member

Sondra Lozier, Enterprise, has lived in Wallowa County since 1976. She's owner and shopkeeper of Favorite Finds on Main Antiques, and, with her husband Kent, co-owner of the local Thompson Auto Supply—NAPA Auto Parts store. Sondra, a rainmaker in the Enterprise business community, energizes and activates public service groups and mentors young business people. She has a background in the lodging and food industry, having owned and managed the first Mexican restaurant, Sonita's Café Ole, in Wallowa County plus operating a full catering business, and a bed & breakfast. In 1989 she earned her commercial Lighter than Air (Hot Air Ballooning) license and delighted passengers with flights over the valley of the Wallowas, and chaired the annual balloon rally.

Sondra serves as president of Hells Canyon Mule Days, an annual Wallowa County tradition since 1981. She is a founding committee member for Friends of Enterprise Cemetery. The Friends have raised money through donations to restore water to the cemetery and have made many improvements to the grounds, including an automated underground irrigation system.

She has a passion for local retail business as well as festivals and other ventures and excels in organizing, marketing and advertising of events.

Sondra, and her husband, Kent, invested in the Lodge to preserve the history of the Grand Lady of the Lake and to help prevent her demise. Sondra is a member of the Board of Managers and a champion in promoting the "Save the Lodge" campaign.

Douglass Meyer

Douglass Meyer is a 4th generation farmer in Whitman County, Washington. He has raised bluegrass, wheat, and other crops. He has an agriculture degree from Washington State University. He also studied law at the University of Idaho before deciding he was more interested in farming. He served eleven years on the Whitman County Grange Supply Board. Normally board service is limited to three three-year terms, however the limit was extended because he was needed to provide financial and legal expertise as a complex personnel matter worked its way through to ultimate legal resolution. Also, during his tenure the business expanded to an annual value of 20 million dollars. He now serves as president of the county Weed Control Board.

Doug and his wife Kathy have four children, and all are successful. Each had either advanced degrees or professional degrees. The oldest teaches at an International School in Vienna, Austria. The second has served as CFO for a mining company, a National Hotel chain, and Clearwater Paper Company. The third earned an agricultural degree, but his passion was flight. Out of a flight school class of fourteen, he was one of only three to graduate. He is now a pilot (captain) for Alaska/Horizon airline. The youngest was elected a state FFA officer. She subsequently earned a nursing degree and is now doing relief work in Whitman County Hospital. The quality of his children may be the best measure of Doug's abilities.

For his parent's family, Doug was the best one to work through the legal morass when it was time to settle the estate, even though one of his siblings had been a state legislator.

When Doug's boys were young, he took them hiking in the Eagle Cap Wilderness. He fell in love with the area. As a close friend of Dan and Joyce Leonard, the Meyers attended several Wallowa Lake Lodge events during 2016 and 2017. At every opportunity, Doug speaks highly of our Lodge to people he has known for years and to people he has just met. He brings a lifetime of solving problems with machinery as a farmer, and skills in both the law and accounting.

James Monteith

Investor and Founding Board Member

Native Oregonian Monteith is Managing Member of Wallowa Lake Lodge LLC. He attended MIT and received his BS in Biological Sciences from Stanford in 1972. He is co-founder of Wallowa Land Trust and the Coalition of Oregon Land Trusts. In 2015, he created Lake Wallowa Lodge LLC to purchase the Wallowa Lake Lodge.

Nicholas L Richards


I am a third generation Eastern Oregonian on both sides of my family. I grew up in Milton Freewater and Sweet Home OR. I graduated from University of Washington in 1969 with a double major honors degree in Chinese Studies and Political Science and was commissioned an Ensign in the US Navy the same day. Along the way I also acquired an MBA from the University of San Diego. I retired as a Captain after 30 years service and, with three daughters in college, took a whole week vacation, then went back to work as a manager building ships at Ingalls Shipbuilding in Pascagoula MS for the next twenty years. I held four commands: a guided missile cruiser, a guided missile frigate and two shore stations. My final tour of duty in the Navy was commanding a worldwide naval engineering organization of approximately 2500 scientists, engineers, and technicians with an annual budget of $300M. I held a subspecialty in Acquisition Management and Major Program Manager certification for programs in excess of $1B in funding. My responsibilities at Ingalls Shipbuilding were split between engineering management and deck officer for newly constructed naval and coast guard vessels undergoing pre-delivery sea trials. USS PORTLAND is a product of Ingalls Shipbuilding.

I and my wife, Christy Wheeler, a retired naval officer specializing in shore base management, divide our time between our home on the bayou and our home in La Grande OR. In Mississippi i served a four year term on the planning commission while Christy was the City Manager when Hurricane Katrina hit our Gulf Coast town. We have a strong community connection in Oregon in that we are members of the First Presbyterian Church of La Grande, own an additional rental home in La Grande, and for the past ten years have sponsored a scholarship given to a graduating senior from my father's high school in Cove, Oregon. But most significantly, we are the owners of Richards Retreat on the Minam adjacent to The Horse Ranch. (https://www.facebook.com/RichardsRetreatOnBigMinam/) My father acquired 40 acres of Old Growth forest from a tax sale in 1931, and he and my grandfather built the main cabin and other buildings in the following years. We have been engaged for the past several years in a restoration and rehabilitation program for the property to return it to a proper level of usability for family and friends. We are very proud of our three daughters; career FBI, PR manager in LA, and owner of her own startup business, with five degrees among them. We are also owned by three dogs and a cat, all rescues.

I recognize that this position will require a commitment of time and finances above the norm, given the distances between our two homes, but would be honored to serve if desired by the membership.

Gail Swart

I, Gail M Swart, was born in Downers Grove, Illinois (a suburb of Chicago) on April 30, 1936. In 1941 my father, Gwen J Coffin, bought the weekly newspaper in Enterprise and the family moved West. My dad was thrilled! He loved everything about the West and especially Wallowa County. The Chieftain was his pride, joy and passion for over thirty years. Many of his first stories centered around the bombing of Pearl Harbor.

I attended Enterprise schools and graduated from Enterprise High School. Two summers during my high school years I worked as a waitress at Wallowa Lake Lodge. Thus began my long-standing love affair with the lodge. I graduated with a BS in Education and a minor in music from Eastern Oregon University. I also did graduate work at Boise State University and Seattle Pacific University. During these years I spent many happy hours practicing the piano, giving concerts and playing for weddings, funerals and graduations.

I married Donald L Swart and we were blessed with five children: Richard, Don Jr., Jennifer, David and Lisa. I felt very fortunate. I had always wanted a big family. Family finances, or rather the lack thereof, pushed me into teaching, and, as they say, 'the rest is history'. I taught school for the next forty years, most especially general music in grades K – 8, and I loved it! My teaching career was a very rewarding one from ever-so-many directions. For many of those years, I was very active in my children's activities and also served as organist for the Enterprise Community Church.

Don purchased the Chieftain from my father and after many years our son Rick purchased the newspaper. The Chieftain remained in the family for many years. Don and I divorced in the eighties but have remained good friends.

All too soon the kids graduated from high school and headed for college. Then, to my utter amazement, it was time to retire from teaching! Now what?!?!

Other doors with offers of ways to serve quickly opened. Soroptimists and their thrift shop, playing piano at the care centers in Joseph and Enterprise. And, playing piano in the Lodge dinning room on weekends! Wonderful! I was also invited to be on the board of the Wallowa Valley Health Care Foundation. The hospital has always been very important to our family and thus I was … am honored to serve on this board. 'Every time a door closes another opens.'

You are the most recent 'door!' I am humbled and excited to be a candidate for a position on the Wallowa Lake Lodge Board. A few years ago the Lodge seemed to be headed toward an ominous end. The current board stepped forward and bravely sucked in their collective breath and set out on a path to, "Save the Lodge!" With a lot of hard work and dedicated determination they have creatively and successfully saved this historic landmark.

It would be an honor to be a part of this on-going endeavor. Thank you very much for considering me. It would indeed be an honor and a joy to serve.

Gail M Swart

Dennis Wickham

Investor and Founding Board Member

Dennis Wickham was born and raised in Pendleton, Oregon. He attended Linfield College and graduated with a B.A. and then completed medical school at the University of Oregon Health Sciences Center. After medical school he completed a clinical internship at Blodgett Memorial Medical Center in Grand Rapids, Michigan and an anatomic and clinical pathology residency at the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center in Denver, Colorado. Dennis completed his final year of residency in forensic pathology at the Dade County Medical Examiner’s Department in Miami, Florida. In 1987, he became an Associate Medical Examiner in the 18th Medical Examiner District of Florida (Brevard County) and in 1989, he became the District Medical Examiner. Dennis returned to the Pacific Northwest in 1997 to become the Medical Examiner of Clark County, Washington. He currently holds that position. He has been very involved with Rotary for twenty-five years where he has served in a number of leadership roles. He has also served on the board of directors of several nonprofit organizations. Dennis has been a member of the Wallowa Lake Lodge Management Board for two years.