Sigs behind the Centennial Chapter House Campaign

Your WSU Sigma Chi Centennial Chapter House campaign is run by an all-star Executive Committee, a Leadership Team, special advisors and scores of other Sigs who sense the unprecedented momentum. All members of the Executive Committee, Loan Team and Special Advisors are major donors to the campaign. The Executive Committee has now become part of the board of the house corporation, the legal entity overseeing the chapter. After trying valiantly for 50 years, WSU Sigs are now on the precipice of finally making this happen. Members of the Executive Committee and Loan Team have invested an unfathomable amount of volunteer hours, far more than they ever anticipated. And our successful strategy includes a monthly stipend to Jeff Burnside for his full-time efforts. This way, we can avoid paying enormous amounts of money to a professional fundraising firm as we have tried unsuccessfully three times in previous years. Let us know your thoughts.

Executive Committee

Bill Ukropina

Bill Ukropina, also known as Uke, brings advanced professional skills in commercial real estate, valuable insight for this effort. He is the beloved, energetic Chairman of the WSU Sigma Chi Centennial Chapter House Campaign. Uke is a well-known alumni brother from Los Angeles who also co-chaired the Homestretch Campaign in the 1990's raising more than $180,000, the first effort to establish a secure fund that remains the foundation of what we have today. Uke was Consul in 1977 and Interfraternity Council President in 1978. Uke and his wife Linan, a well-known fixture at Sig events, run a successful commercial real estate business in Los Angeles. You can reach Uke at 626-233-0383.

Howie Neill

Howard Neill, known to generations of WSU Sigma Chi's as Howie, is a respected lawyer and businessman who is our anchor in Pullman. Howie's legal and business skills have kept this campaign prudent and wise. We joke that Howie has been getting undergrad Sigs out of trouble for 40 years. Howie oversees the legal entity that owns the Sigma Chi property as well as the house and property next door known as the Castleberry house where the undergraduate Sigs live until we build them a new chapter. Howie leads us in our fiduciary role with the "Beta Upsilon Sigma Chi Club" and its separate fund that protects about $100,000. You can reach Howie at 509-334-3505.

Brian Phair

Brian Phair is the owner and CEO of PCS Structural Solutions, an engineering firm that has worked on projects worth billions of dollars throughout the Northwest. Brian is from the pledge class of 1987. In addition to Brian's sizable personal cash donation, he is also donating six figures worth of engineering and owners rep services for this campaign, overseeing the architect and all sub contractors with his advanced skills and reputation. Brian is invaluable for this project. "This Centennial Chapter House project is as financially solid and sound as any I've seen," he said. "Let's go get this done." Reach Brian at 253-312-2609.

John Hale

John Hale has been volunteering for Sigma Chi for many years and is an integral part of the Centennial Chapter House Campaign. He's hosted Sig events at his beautiful Lake Washington home in Seattle and has donated pro bono printing services for the campaign mailers. John and his wife Andrea are a constant presence at Sig events. His professional acumen for this campaign is extraordinary. John works with brother Ron Cox at Preferred Business Solutions which was just sold to an international conglomerate (yes, it's very good news). Reach John at 206-228-4253.

Joe Winkler

Joe Winkler is the financial and accounting leader for the campaign and is a staunch watchdog over your donations. Joe is a partner in the firm Bristlecone Advisors which has managed more than $1.2 billion in investor wealth. We are fortunate to have a guy at his level "doing our books." Joe did exhaustive work to forensically reconstruct donors list dating back to the 1990's to make sure we give credit to all previous donors whose money laid the foundation for today. He is a CPA and CFP. Prior to joining Bristlecone, he was a Senior Vice President/Wealth Advisor at UBS Financial Services, Inc. and a Senior Vice President/Private Client Advisor at U.S. Trust with Bank of America Private Wealth Management. Prior to specializing in wealth management, Joe honed his tax skills as a CPA at PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP. Reach Joe at 206-909-3154.

Brad Fulton

Brad Fulton, "Bear," is a successful attorney in Seattle and is an extraordinary value to the campaign with his legal skills and much more. He's a member of the Pledge Class of 1982 and was graduated Phi Beta Kappa from WSU before heading to UW Law. But he still hates the Huskies. Bear has been deeply involved in the Centennial Chapter House Campaign from the start, relentlessly corralling brothers to donate to the reunion and the construction fund while donating more than $20,000 of his money as well. He is a constant presence at major Sig events. Talk to Brad at 206-920-5535.

Jeff Burnside

Jeff Burnside, known as Burnie, was asked by Ukropina to run the operations of the WSU Sigma Chi Centennial Chapter House Campaign instead of hiring a fundraising company that is often extremely expensive. Burnie set aside some professional obligations in order to work with Uke part time, compensated at $5,000 per month that also covers all travel and certain other expenses. The compensation comes from campaign funds held in the Sigma Chi Foundation. Burnie has donated nearly $12,000. Uke and Burnside co-chaired the groundbreaking Homestretch Campaign in the 1990's with Jeff Pyatt and William Starks. During Homestretch, it became clear to Uke, Burnie and others that a pure volunteer effort will not succeed because working Sigs simply don't have enough time. Burnie, pledge class of 1975, was Rush Chairman in 1977 and 1978, served as faculty at several national Leadership Training Workshops and produced the nation's first anti-hazing video. Burnie is a long time television news investigative reporter earning 10 Emmys and several national awards. Call him: 206-512-6544.

Loan Acquisition Team

Eric Bolstad

Eric is teaming with big brother Jeff Kraft to lead the effort to secure our $3.4 million construction loan for the Centennial Chapter House Campaign.

 

Breaking his spinal cord in his senior year at WSU prevented Eric Bolstad from ever walking again – but it never prevented him from succeeding. He gives credit to his Sigma Chi brothers for saving his life during his accident, saving his spirit during his hospital stay and saving his ambition during his return to college and early in his career.

 

He became the youngest vice president at ProWest Financial before founding Absolute Mortgage in 1996. He now facilitates more than $800 million per year in mortgages, totaling nearly $10 billion since he started.

Eric worked with the Paul Allen group that oversaw the building of Seahawks Stadium, Cinerama Theatre and EMP (now called POP Museum).

 

But every aspect of his professional life is permeated by his personal philosophies based on the teachings of Sigma Chi he received as an undergrad. Eric and his company have received scores of regional and national awards. He frequently visits patients who have suffered spinal cord injuries at University of Washington Hospital. And he started Absolute Blast Fastpitch Club in 1998 – a girl’s Junior Olympic select softball team. With Eric’s coaching, the girls have competed all over the country and he’s also helped 60 women get college softball scholarships.

 

Yet Sigs will always remember his heart-stopping, spontaneous speech he gave during the 2017 reunion. He took the microphone and thanked Sigma Chi for saving his life – and then donated $50,000 on the stop, challenging everyone present to match it. 

 

They did. And more.

Within minutes, the reunion crowd of about 100 people ponied up $83,000, 170% of what Eric challenged them to give.

 

Eric didn’t stop there. He later donated another $50,000 toward a challenge match with his Sigma Chi little brother Erik Morgan. It quickly succeeded. Eric’s and Erik's $100,000 challenge brought in another $133,000. If you’re doing the math, Eric is responsible for $366,000 and some change. 

Call Eric on his cell at 425-442-5440.

Jeff Kraft

Jeff Kraft is First Vice President, Partner, at Kidder Mathews commercial realtors, the largest on the U.S. west coast, where he is excels in all phases of retail development, acquisition and leasing of properties. Jeff was Consul in 1985 and graduated from WSU in 1986.

 

For the Centennial Chapter House, Jeff is partnering with brother Eric Bolstad to lead the loan team. With his deep knowledge of the commercial lending market, Jeff will be essential for the Beta Upsilon House Corporation to secure the $3.4 million construction loan with no signature guaranteeing the deal. Indeed, Jeff and Eric have already achieved an invitation from Constantine Capital, a privately-held lending firm tied to the Sigma Chi Foundation, for a $250,000 loan, and a $50,000 loan from the Sigma Chi Risk Management Foundation for life safety systems inside the new house.

 

For Kidder Mathews, Jeff has led efforts on massive projects including the University of Washington’s 3-square-block property in downtown Tacoma, the 9-acre Village at Chalmers Bay and the 120,000-square-foot Pavilions II development in Federal Way.

Call Jeff on his cell at 206-383-9973.

The Leadership Team

THE LEADERSHIP TEAM is a loose-knit group of WSU Sigs who periodically advise, convene on conference calls or attend events in support of the Centennial Chapter House Campaign. This group's guidance has been crucial in selecting key marketing communications strategies and tone such as "Be a hero for a hundred years" and adopting the phrase "Centennial Chapter House." The Leadership Team consists of Sigs who are professionally advanced in needed areas such as construction, financing, marketing and more. Brother Grant Cummings is a great example. He co-owns Arscentia, a Bellevue-based marketing firm that, at minimal cost, has created several design and marketing mailers. Thank you to our Leadership Team!

  • Garith Krause

  • John Layman

  • Larry Ogg

  • Rob Krause

  • Tim Cooke

  • Grant Cummings

  • Rick Beale

  • Patrick Taylor

  • Bill Austell

  • Norval Nelson

  • Mark Hayden

  • Pat Nevin

  • Jerry Herres

  • Mike Perry

  • Brad Sordahl

  • Dave Kraft

  • Ron Cox

  • Arne Hall

  • Jeff Pyatt

  • Jim Linstrum

  • Bob Steil

  • Scott Lennon

  • The Hansell brothers

  • Terry Snow

  • Eric Schneider

  • Steve Oates

  • Eric Schneider

  • Eric Jarvi

  • Scotty Getchell

  • Blaine Hood

  • Sam Vilhauer

  • Gordy Bjorg

  • Del Schwisow

  • Erik Morgan

  • Bruce Titus

  • Dave Burdega

  • Michael Birmingham

  • Steve Smolinske

  • Jim Klavano

  • Jim Baker

  • Dave Baker

  • Mickey Portnoy

  • Jim Sweeney

  • Mike Afflerbaugh

  • Mike Augustine

  • Mike Shapley

  • Terry Thomas

  • Bill Ebel

  • Bill Jaquish

  • Garrett Gluck

Special Advisors

Larry Culver

Larry Culver has been and continues to be an essential leader in the Centennial Chapter House Campaign and even hosted one of our early parties at his beautiful Lake Washington home with his wife Vickie. Larry has been honored by countless business and nonprofit institutions. He owned and operated several Residence Inn by Marriott properties for many years across many states. So, he knows design, building, financing and business needs. He is also a major donor to WSU, serves as Board President of the WSU Foundation and is a Significant Sig.Larry led the important Sig chapter house campaign in the 2000's that raised hundreds of thousands of dollars and established credibility in our efforts. While the campaign did not result in a building, it pushed our efforts closer and closer to the goal line. We would not be as close as we are today without Larry's guidance, counsel and major donations years ago and today.

Gordy Davis

Gordy Davis has been honored by countless corporate and nonprofit institutions around America. He made history in 2017 when he became the first ever leadoff donor in our 50-year quest to build a new Sigma Chi chapter house at WSU - something that is essential to motivate other donors to step up. Gordy gave his $100,000 gift (followed by a $10,000 gift to fund the campaign itself and then another $10,000 just to sweeten the deal) as a Challenge Match. Sigs rose to that challenge by donating $204,000, more than doubling his challenge. Gordy wrote that big fat check at the 2017 reunion as the large crowd erupted in applause. Gordy is also a major donor to WSU. He has started and run several successful businesses including his school curriculum company in Texas. He continues to be a key advisor to the WSU Sigma Chi Centennial Chapter House campaign with his firm and audacious inspiration.

Jim Lawson

Sigma Chi Foundation

Jim Lawson is the Associate Director of Development for the Sigma Chi Foundation and is our appointed liaison. The bulk of funds raised for the Centennial Chapter House is held in the Foundation. Jim works on building stronger Sig chapters across the western US and says the WSU Sigma Chi Centennial Chapter House Campaign is far ahead of many other efforts he's seen. Jim is also a wealth of information for donors who want to know their tax benefits for donations to our account at the Foundation. You can contact Jim directly at 847-563-0230 or email jim.lawson@sigmachi.org

Rick Beal

Partner, Ashbaugh Beal

Rick Beal ('76) is a partner at Ashbaugh Beal, a Seattle based law firm that specializes in construction industry insurance disputes. His work covers the entire country and he has built a fine reputation as one of the very few national coverage lawyers to concentrate his/her practice on the negotiation of settlements involving coverage and bad faith disputes. As such, Rick has volunteered his valuable time (and volunteered his staff's time) to make certain our construction contract is safe, smart and solid. You can reach Rick at 206-335-7450 (cell) or rbeal@ashbaughbeal.com.

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