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Oregon National Guard retiree Leah Sundquist brings extensive strategic planning, leadership experience to role

Leah Sundquist, who retired from her full-time position with the National Guard in 2018, will take over as the new manager for Clackamas Extension's office in Oregon City, the agency announced last week.

Roxie Applebee officially retired as Clackamas Extension's office manager in 2017, leaving "some big shoes to fill," officials said. Applebee was the longest-standing employee at the OSU Extension Service in Clackamas County, beginning her career there in 1973.

Applebee's position evolved over the years to meet changing needs, now including daily administrative and operations management of the office; planning and managing support resources; facility maintenance of two buildings; grant administration; and supervising faculty and staff members.

SundquistIn her new role, Sundquist also will provide budget development; fiscal and business management; and human resources support and coordination with the OSU campus and county staff as necessary for the facilities.

"We are really excited to have found Leah for this critical position in our office," said Mike Bondi, Clackamas Extension's county liaison. "She has extensive experience in strategic planning, leadership at various levels in the military, plus demonstrated experience in personnel, budgeting, communication and safety/risk management. I can't imagine finding anyone more qualified than Leah to provide strong leadership in our office and help us grow into the future."

Prior to joining OSU Extension, Sundquist worked as a field executive for the Girl Scout Council in El Paso, Texas, and taught elementary and middle school health and physical education in Washington. She joined the military where she served two years in the reserves and four years of active duty.

"After which I joined the Oregon National Guard to ultimately serve a total 35 years of active duty, reserve and guard time," Sundquist said.

Sundquist moved to Oregon in 2003 and retired from her full-time position with the National Guard in 2018. So far she has found the most rewarding part of her position is working with office staff and faculty.

"Everyone has a passion for what they do. Citizens come in daily for assistance and are thankful for the customer service they receive," she said. "It amazes me as to the depth and breadth of knowledge and experience held in our facilities. The community needs to learn more about them and utilize the free resources available to them."

When she is not working, Sundquist enjoys volunteering with Girl Scouts, being a 4-H "mom," volunteer/helper in HEARTH and Rabbit Barn, and working as the block captain for her Neighborhood Watch.

"I also have a passion for ensuring everyone I know or work with knows about and is prepared for emergencies of all kinds," she said. "I enjoy hiking, backpacking, bike riding, cooking and being the social coordinator."

Sundquist comes from a long line of military family members.

"My grandfathers were in WWII or worked on the Black Hole project, and my dad is an Army Vietnam veteran," she said. "I have a brother and sister-in-law who are also retired Air Force. We are all very community service oriented."

Sundquist's daughter recently graduated from Central Catholic High School with honors and she will attend the University of Oregon, majoring in psychology.

Sundquist says she did some research on Extension before applying for the office manager position and discovered that there was much more to it than the 4-H program she volunteered with.

"Reading and learning about the Forestry, Agriculture, Horticulture, Master Gardeners, Family and Community Health and Snap-Ed programs made me realize we have a hidden gem in our community," she said. "I hope that when the new Extension Education Center building in Oregon City is complete, we will have all the community space filled with citizens of Clackamas County learning about their passions, as I hope to do in my free time."

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