Board of Directors

George ArmendarizDirector. Past 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.


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.


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. SoteloOrganizer, 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.



Director Emeritus

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.

Management Team

Agustin R. (Gus) Ayala, Principal & CFO. Mr. Ayala, Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer, has been a community banker for 43 years and is a founding executive of Plaza Bank. Gus served in various management positions at community banks in California and was CFO at First Valley Bank in Lompoc until its merger with Santa Barbara Bank & Trust in 1997. A 1990 graduate of the Pacific Coast Banking School at the University of Washington, Gus joined the Bank of Bellingham as CFO in 1997 and participated in its reorganization into a bank holding company. Subsequent to its merger with Horizon Bank, Gus served as Senior Vice President of Operations until his retirement in August 2005. He currently serves on the board of WesPay, a regional payment association headquartered in San Francisco.


Rosario Arias de Carroll, Principal & SVP. Rosario is a founding senior officer of Plaza Bank, and serves as Senior Lending Officer. She also plays a prominent role in our Community Outreach efforts. She has over 27 years of commercial banking experience in the greater Seattle area. Rosario is a Director of the Washington State Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, Girl Scouts of Western Washington-Latina Project and is the Scholarship committee chair of the UWA Hispanic Business Student Association.



Michael J. Clabby, Principal & CCO. Mike serves as Chief Credit Officer. He formerly served as Executive Vice President and Regional Chief Credit Officer for First Interstate Bank, and in several key credit administration roles in Washington and Arizona. Clabby is a graduate of Gonzaga University and Pacific Coast Banking School. He is a former national Board member of Robert Morris Associates and is Past President of Northwest Intermediate Banking School.




Michael V. Paul, Principal & CEO. Mike serves as Chief Executive Officer and was the founding CEO of The Commerce Bank of Oregon, and also served as President, Private Client Services for Umpqua Bank, Senior Lending Officer for Centennial Bank, following a 22 year career with Key Bank. Paul comes to Plaza Bank from Portland based ODS, responsible for its financial subsidiary Dental Commerce Corporation. Paul is the former Chair of the Oregon Bankers Association, American Lung Association of Oregon, City of Portland Business Advisory Council, and taught banking and commerce courses for the American Institute of Banking and Portland State University Professional Development Center. Mike is a graduate of St. Cloud State University and Pacific Coast Banking School. 


Sharliene Tamashiro, Principal & SVP. Sharliene is an eleven year banking veteran, and joined Plaza Bank in 2012. She manages the IT and Operations areas, to ensure compliance with internal controls and regulatory standards, that help provide innovative solutions for an overall positive client delivery experience.  She is a graduate of Gonzaga University. 




Quality Assurance


Plaza Bank is committed to the delivery of consistent, valuable services, which requires an emphasis and discipline. Our team is experienced and well trained to execute on service.


Dawn Beagan, VP of Loan Operations has been a Community Banker since 1996. She joined Plaza Bank in 2012 and administers the Bank's Loan Operations area including loan documentation, funding and servicing contributing to an efficient and positive Borrower experience while maintaining accuracy and compliance in order to safeguard the Bank. She is a graduate of Seattle Pacific University.




John Kalina, VP of Credit Administration has over 10 years of commercial banking experience and has been with Plaza Bank since inception. He manages the credit administration area, to ensure sound underwriting and portfolio management. He is a proud graduate of Gonzaga University.




K. Sun (Sunny) Kim, VP/Portfolio Manager, has over 14 years commercial banking experience, mainly with community banks. During his banking career, his professional focus has been on credit underwriting and loan portfolio management, including commercial, real estate and SBA credit facilities. Sunny is a graduate of the University of Washington.





Michelle L. Montez, Accounting is a graduate from San Diego State University, and later obtained her MBA. Michelle is a finance professional, with over 5 years of Accounting experience mainly in the Tourism and Cruising Industry, as well as accounts payable, staff accountancy and financial statement preparation responsibilities. Michelle just recently joined Plaza Bank in 2014, additional strength to our Quality Assurance team.