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Baker Boyer expands executive committee with four new members

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Baker Boyer’s board of directors has voted to expand the bank’s executive committee.

The decision and the promotions or appointments of four new members were announced Tuesday by the Walla Walla-based bank.

The change is intended to elevate representation in strategic areas to help strengthen the bank’s future growth and success, the announcement said. It also acknowledges the leadership and contributions of those being promoted.

“Baker Boyer successfully served Eastern Washington for 150 years, thanks in large part to the strength of its vision and leadership,” President and CEO Mark Kajita said in a prepared statement. “The expansion of our executive committee and promotion of these deserving leaders will ensure we are best positioned for the next decade and beyond.”

Those promoted to the executive committee are:

  • Jolene Riggs, who becomes executive vice president/chief financial officer. She will work closely with Mark Hess, who had been working under the combined titles of CFO and chief operating officer and will remain on the executive committee as COO. Riggs began with Baker Boyer in 2006 as controller and became vice president one year later. Before that, she spent 21 years as CFO at Blue Mountain Action Council.
  • Kain Evans, who becomes executive vice president/chief information officer, leading the bank’s technology infrastructure and digital banking. A Whitman College graduate and 21-year veteran of the technology industry, he joined Baker Boyer in 2013 as director of information technology.
  • Vesna Dodge, who becomes executive vice president/Baker Boyer asset management, leading the division that includes investments, financial planning and trust management. She joined the company in 2010 as a trust advisor in the Tri-Cities office. She transitioned two years ago to VP/regional manager and leads teams in the Tri-Cities and Yakima. A graduate of Walla Walla University, she has her juris doctor degree from Willamette University School of Law and previously practiced as an estate planning attorney.
  • Rob Blethen, who becomes executive vice president/D.S. Baker advisors, leading the bank’s client relationship strategy by working with bank leaders and advisors across all offices. He is responsible also for marketing the company’s client experience. He joined Baker Boyer in 2016 after a 20-year career in business and nonprofits, including as the former publisher of the Union-Bulletin and general manager of the Yakima Herald-Republic. A University of Washington graduate, he completed management programs at Northwestern University and the American Management Association, and has earned the designation of Certified Financial Planner.

Vicki Hillhouse can be reached at or 509-526-8321.

Vicki covers business and economic development, including tourism, the Port of Walla Walla and the Strictly Business column, as well as features. She has been reporting for the Union-Bulletin since late 2001.