Board of Directors
George Armendariz – Chairman of the Board. Retired executive of Brunswick Corporation. He most recently served as Vice President and General Manager of Brunswick Marine Europe based in Brussels, Belgium. In that capacity, George was responsible for the management of Brunswick’s boat brands in Europe, Middle East and Africa. Prior to this, he was Vice President, International with Brunswick’s US Marine Subsidiary. In addition to that position, he acted as Managing Director of European Sales and Marketing in Frankfurt, Germany, where he was recognized with the President’s Award for Excellence. Prior to joining Brunswick Corporation, Mr. Armendariz spent 12 years with First Interstate Bank where he was Vice President, International, in Seattle, after having run the bank’s operations in Rio de Janeiro and Buenos Aires. Mr. Armendariz has extensive experience with both European and Latin American cultures, having worked and resided in Europe, South America, and the USA. He holds a BA degree from Texas Christian University.
Don Burton - Director. Don founded Evergreen Home Loans in 1987. Since that time, Don as President and CEO has expanded the organization to over 25 branch offices in 7 states. He has served on the Washington Mortgage Lenders Association Board since 1996, and is a past President. Evergreen Home Loans is continually recognized as one of Washington's "Best Places to Work" by Seattle Business Magazine and The Puget Sound Business Journal. The company is the largest privately held mortgage banking firm in Washington. Don is a Seattle native, attended the University of Washington and lives in West Seattle.
Pedro Celis, PhD – Organizer, Founding director. Born and raised in Monterrey, Mexico. He holds an engineering degree from the Monterrey Institute of Technology (ITESM) and M. Math and Ph. D. degrees in Computer Science from the University of Waterloo, Canada. Pedro has a lifelong passion for education and technology and has worked as a Professor of Computer Science at Indiana University and as a software engineer for several companies. He last served as a Distinguished Engineer in the SQL Server group in Microsoft. He was appointed by President Bush and served as a member of the President's Information Technology Advisory Committee (PITAC) from 2003 to 2005. PITAC advises the president on policies and investments that the federal government should pursue to enhance and maintain the preeminence of the U.S. in information technology. He is the holder of over 15 U.S. Patents. Pedro is also very active in serving in the community. He is a board member of the Stronger Families, a nonprofit organization advocating a healthy environment for marital and family life; The Washington News Council, a nonprofit organization to help maintain public trust and confidence in the news media. He has previously held board positions in the Hispanic Alliance for Progress, the Washington State Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, and the Board of Regents of his alma mater ITESM. Pedro is the founder of the Washington Republican National Hispanic Assembly and served as its Chairman for four years and as the National Chairman of the Republican National Hispanic Assembly for two years.
Chris Evans - Director. Chris Evans joined the Plaza Bank board in 2014. Chris is an attorney who has practiced in Washington since 1975, with a focus on marine and fisheries law. He is the former General Counsel for Ocean Beauty Seafoods, and former acting President of Kodiak Fishmeal. Chris is a former Director of both Northwest Business Bank and Northwest International Bank, and is an active investor in a number of local organizations. He also served as corporate secretary for Ocean Beauty, as well as Northwest International Bank and Northwest Business Bank. Chris is a lifelong Seattle resident, received his BA degree from Whittier College, and received his law degree from Willamette University.
Carlos Herrera - Director. Born in La Habana, Cuba. His family were the first Cuban refugees to settle in Washington state. After receiving a Masters in Civil Engineering from the University of Washington, Carlos founded Herrera Environmental Consultants, Inc. in 1980. Under his leadership, Herrera Environmental Consultants has grown to be the preeminent environmental firm in the Northwest. For over 30 years Carlos has been involved with the Puget Sound region’s major public works projects by combining innovative engineering design with environmental stewardship. Carlos is a professional engineer registered in the states of Washington, Oregon, and Idaho. He has been actively involved in the Washington state small and minority business community and has received various awards including the Seattle Mayors Small Business Award, Society of Hispanic Engineers Achievement Award, SBA Small Business Award, King County Award of Excellence, and several technical Gold Awards from the American Consulting Engineers Council. Carlos also currently serves as an adjunct professor at Seattle University.
Michael Paul - Principal and CEO, Plaza Bank
Michael E. Sotelo – Organizer, Founding Director. Founder and President, Approach Management Services (Workplace Safety and Development); Founder, Consolidar LLC (Education, Workforce Development, Healthcare Solutions); Founder, La Plaza International (Beverage Importing and Distribution); Former Principal, W. G. Clark Construction Company; President, King County Hispanic Chamber of Commerce; Past Chairman of the Board, Association of Washington Hispanic Chambers of Commerce.
Gene Juarez is the Founder and President of Seattle's most distinguished salon and he is one of the most successful salon owners in the nation. Gene has created eight full-service salons and spas, two cosmetology schools, and the Gene Juarez Advanced Training Salon, In 1980, he was selected for membership in Intercoiffure America, an exclusive group of 200 of the most prestigious salons in the United States and Canada. Throughout his career, he has received numerous, distinguished honors for his work. With a strong belief in giving back to the community that supports you, Gene is known as a major contributor to several community organizations. Some of these organizations include the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation, Boy Scouts of America, Big Brothers and Poncho.