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The Edmonds College Foundation has named carpenter John Littel and accountant Becky Mackenstadt as its 2010 Distinguished Alumni.

Littel and Mackenstadt both identified their career paths in high school, obtained education to advance in their chosen field, made connections in their professions, found rewarding lifelong work, and — best of all — they love their jobs.

“Accountants, we love our jobs. It is a great degree, a great profession. You couldn’t do what I am doing without the degree,” Mackenstadt said. She looks forward to making partner at Vine Dahlen PLLC in Lynnwood where she’s a senior audit and accounting manager.

“I love the work,” Littel said. “This is a great industry that gives you the potential to have a successful career as a craftsperson, a project engineer, a building inspector, or the owner of a construction company.” He’s recruiting the next generation of carpenters as a trustee on the Carpenters Apprenticeship and Training Program and looking forward to his encore career making furniture and handcrafted Spanish guitars.

Mackenstadt, 42, of Shoreline, has been with Vine Dahlen, a public accounting firm, for 13 years. She enrolled in Edmonds College’s accounting program as the first in her family to attend college and worked while completing her two-year degree. She went on for a Bachelor of Science in Accounting and Business Administration with a concentration in finance at Central Washington University-Lynnwood and graduated magna cum laude. Then she earned her Certified Public Accountant and Certified Management Accountant licenses.

She’s a member of the Institute of Management Accountants and the Washington Society of Certified Public Accountants. Mackenstadt volunteers as treasurer on the board of the United Way of Snohomish County and as treasurer for the board of Shoreline Covenant Church.

Littel, 55, of Seattle, has worked on projects including Qwest Field, the Sea-Tac Airport expansion, and Sound Transit Light Rail. He began taking classes at Edmonds College in the mid-80s when he owned a small construction business. He took classes at night and completed all of the core construction management classes. Later, he returned to the college to complete the two-year Associate of Technical Arts in Construction Management.

Today, Littel works as the political and legislative director for the Pacific Northwest Regional Council of Carpenters representing 25,000 carpenters in five states. He serves as the board chair of the Seattle Housing Authority and is helping to lead plans for a $300 million, 10-year redevelopment of Yesler Terrace, a low-income housing project. At Edmonds College, Littel serves on the advisory board for the Construction Management program and he helped the college start its pre-apprenticeship Construction Industry Training program.

Last year's Distinguished Alumni Award recipients were: Alan Howard, a Computer, Electronics, and Networks alumnus who is a senior engineer at Huntron, Inc. in Mill Creek and owner of ADH Consulting, and paralegal alumnus Jeff Smoot, an attorney at Lasher Holzapfel Sperry & Ebberson law firm in Seattle and board member for the Washington State Bar Association Rule 6 Law Clerk Program.

Since it was established in 1991, the college’s Distinguished Alumni award has been given to 47 people notable for academic success, professional achievement, and community service. They include outstanding community leaders who are accountants, artists, attorneys, carpenters, fire chiefs, musicians, educators, therapists, business owners, and engineers.

Nominations for Edmonds College’s Distinguished Alumni Award are accepted year-round. Submit nominations for the 2011 award online at www.edmonds.edu/foundation.

Established in 1982, Edmonds College Foundation supports access, success, and excellence for students, faculty, and staff at Edmonds College.

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