Rhonda Gothberg, President
Rhonda Gothberg, President

Born & raised in Texas, still retaining a strong sense of independence and can do attitude.  Have been living in the PNW for over 20 years.  A Registered Nurse since the 70's, with some later years enmeshed with real estate, which all morphed into farming and goats.  Owner/founder/herdswoman/cheesemaker/marketer/and anything else that needs done at Gothberg Farms for 11 successful years now.  Surrounded by amazing people.  Married with 5 grown children.

Russ Salvadalena, 2nd Vice President
Russ Salvadalena, 2nd Vice President

Russ Salvadalena has been associated with dairy his whole life.  He grew up on a small dairy farm north of Pasco, Washington.  He graduated from Washington State University in 1977 with a degree in Food Science & Technology.  He worked for Safeway Inc. for 23 years, managing fluid milk processing plants in the western United States.  In 2000, he returned to Pullman, Washington to take his dream job – Manager of the WSU Creamery. In January, 2016 he took his SECOND dream job – retirement!  He will continue to live in Pullman, and he and his wife, Janie, have plans to travel extensively.

Niklas Lance, Treasurer/Secretary
Niklas Lance, Treasurer/Secretary

Born in Olympia and raised in Longview, Nik is a Western Washington native.  After earning his degree from Stanford, he put his process management skills to use in the fields of international logistics, medical logistics and banking before moving into the world of cheese with Mt Townsend Creamery in 2011.  As a co-owner, his primary duties include managing the company’s finances and HR duties, although he loves the interplay of chemistry, biology and aesthetics in cheese making.  Nik lives in Port Townsend with his wife and two children, where all enjoy the beauty and outdoor opportunities of Washington’s Olympic Peninsula.

Julia Powers, Member
Julia Powers, Member

Julia is a passionate cheese lover.  Her background is speckled with opportunity that has ultimately given her this cheesy lot in life.  An Air Force brat that traveled with her family to domestic and international destinations, and then her own travels during and after her college years, provided a wonderful framework to seed the passion for cheese.  She is a member of the American Cheese Society with CCP (Certified Cheese Professional) credentials and serves as a member of the ACS Judging & Competition Committee.  Moreover, her education includes courses at Academie Opus Caseus @ Maison Mons in France and she is a member of Slow Foods USA and the Oregon Cheese Guild. Currently she continues to fuel her passion working for Peterson Cheese Company – a family-owned national distributor focusing on specialty foods and the import/export business.  For the past couple of years, she worked closely with a national specialty food broker – McKenna Marketing, and, before that, she was the cheese shop manager at Mt. Townsend Creamery in Pike Place and mongered at Metropolitan Market.

Ruth Appel, Member
Ruth Appel, Member

Ruth is one part sales manager, one part cheese professional, two parts marketer, one part amateur photographer, and three parts cheeselover.  Growing up in Lacey, Washington, she had no idea she would one day move to Whatcom County and marry a cheesemaker.  Her husband introduced her to the wonderful world of cheesemaking and gave her the opportunity to leverage her degree in visual communication technology to help grow the family business.  Ruth is marketing director and retail sales manager for Appel Farms.  She is married with two grown children and two high-maintenance cats.  Ruth feels blessed to be a part of the amazing growth and development of the artisan cheese industry in Washington State.