Distinguished Eagle Scout recognized for work as nonprofit executive
In scouting, the Eagle Scout is the highest rank one can attain. It's a designation rooted in the century-old traditions and foundations of the Boy Scouts of America reserved for the hardest working and most virtuous.
Eagle Scouts represent just four percent of the scouting population, making it a prestigious and highly regarded achievement that carries clout long after one's scouting days are over.
That's especially true for people like Lake Oswego's Jeff Pinneo, who recently received the only honor higher than Eagle Scout: the Distinguished Eagle Scout Award, awarded to an Eagle Scout for distinguished service in their profession and to their community for a period of at least 25 years after achieving the rank.
Pinneo, 61, was recognized for the esteemed award at the Cascade Pacific Council's annual Eagle Scout Celebration in Portland last month.
"It's an extraordinary honor. I'm humbled," Pinneo told The Review. "When I consider both the traditions of scouting and those who have received this honor before me in Oregon and Washington and what they've accomplished, it's an amazing honor to even be mentioned among that company."
Once an Eagle Scout, always an Eagle Scout — that notion is at the crux of the award given to those who have led a remarkable career and made strides to improve the world around them.
Pinneo first became involved in scouting as a young boy in Cub Scouts in his hometown of Lynnwood, Wash. He progressed through the organization guided by his Eagle Scout father Roger Pinneo, eventually earning the designation himself.
He was nominated by the Cascade Pacific Council and reviewed by the National Boy Scouts of America DESA Volunteer Nomination Committee. His selection for the honor stems from his years of service as CEO and President of Medical Teams International, a non-profit Christian global health organization, delivering relief and development programs to all people in need.
Under his leadership, MTI launched an ambitious and strategic plan to dramatically expand the reach and impact of the organization's work among the most vulnerable.
"We were delighted by the acceptance of the nomination and honored to bestow the award upon Jeff at our annual Eagle Scout Celebration," said Anna LaPointe, BSA Cascade Pacific Council director of development. "At the celebration, Jeff was able to directly address newly minted Eagle Scouts and key community leaders about the importance of Scouting in his life and how he continues to embody the ideals and methods on a daily basis."
Before focusing on work with MTI, Pinneo spent 29 years with Alaska Air Group companies Alaska Airlines and Horizon Air, serving the last nine years as president and CEO until his retirement in 2009. He helped Horizon Air expand markets and revenues and extend the reach and preference of the Horizon and Alaska brands, leading to Horizon being named global Regional Airline of the Year
by Air Transport World in 2007.
In 2016 Pinneo was chosen to succeed Dr. Lynwood W. Swanson as trustee of the M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust, where he helps administer grant funding and enrichment programs that help improve quality of life for individuals and families throughout the Pacific Northwest.
He has also served on a number of boards and advisory committees, including Seattle Pacific University School of Business, Washington State University School of Business, Pacific Continental Bank and the Seattle Hospitality Group.
Pinneo is also a currently a member of Lake Oswego-based Building Champions, an organization that connects young, up-and-coming executives with experienced minds like Pinneo who have served as corporate executives and leaders for many years.
"It's an enriching experience in terms of building relationships, coming alongside someone who is facing a number of situations you're very familiar with and can reflect on experiences that can be helpful to them," Pinneo said. "At the same time, so much has changed, I'm often learning myself."