About Us

Welcome to Trillium

Trillium Employment Services is a nonprofit organization committed to integrating people with intellectual disabilities into the workforce. Our staff of skilled professionals work closely with businesses and applicants to ensure a quality match and long term success.

Our History

Trillium has been serving people with disabilities in Washington since 1983. We were one of the pioneer supported employment agencies in the United States. We originated as a demonstration project by the University of Oregon to assist a local manufacturer of defibrillators, Physio-Control, in the employment of assemblers with developmental disabilities. This successful project demonstrated to the nation that people with significant disabilities could participate fully in businesses producing quality products of a critical nature. This demonstration helped to influence national legislation on supported employment and pave the way for other people with developmental disabilities to obtain jobs in the community, influence government to move toward community employment and away from sheltered employment, and inspire other businesses to employ people with significant disabilities.


The mission of Trillium Employment Services is to promote inclusive community and employment opportunities.


We, the staff of Trillium, are committed to realizing a community that celebrates inclusion and diversity through innovative leadership and partnerships.


Bryan Ruff, President
Bryan is an Assistant Vice President for Timberland Bank and is a graduate of the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa where he received his bachelor’s degree in Economics. He is also active in the Puyallup Rotary and serves on the board as the Public Relations Director. As a former Trillium employment consultant on the Pierce team, Bryan has a close and thorough understanding of the work and mission of Trillium.  Bryan brings with him great connections within the South Sound business community as well as sales experience that he hopes to use in helping Trillium grow and continue to provide quality services to the community.

William Cowart, Secretary
Bill is a co-owner and Managing partner of Leavitt Group Northwest an Insurance Agency with offices in Auburn, Everett, University Place and Oak Harbor. A longtime resident of Auburn, Bill has been a business leader in Auburn for over 30 years. He is a past president and current member of the Kiwanis club of Auburn and Past Board member of Valley Bank. Bill also has a lot of experience with non-profit directorship having served for several years as board president of Auburn Youth Resources now Nexus Youth and Family services. He currently serves on the Auburn Symphony Board as Development committee chairman. Currently serving at the bequest of the Mayor and Auburn City Council on the Business Improvement Rate payers board as Vice-Chairman.  Bill brings a perspective of business ownership a well as non-profit leadership to the board of Trillium. Bill also hired an employee through Trillium.

Jeremy Sankwich, Treasurer
Jeremy is the Business Development Manager for Verity Credit Union, a community credit union in King County. He is a graduate of California State University with majors in financial services and financial management. His focus is on helping to align the community engagement culture of credit unions with Trillium’s mission in the greater Seattle area. Jeremy brings strategic partnership, financial management and marketing experience to Trillium’s board.

Lynn Norman, Member
She brings a unique perspective to the board as a long time small business owner and community leader. In addition of the Trillium Board she currently serves as a member of Green River College Foundation Board, and Pediatric Interim Care Board. Lynn has a granddaughter with disabilities and led the community in an effort to build a playground for children of all abilities in Auburn.

Steffanie Fain, Member
Steffanie is an attorney at Gordon & Rees and a graduate of Seattle University School of Law.  Steffanie, a breast cancer survivor, is an active volunteer with Susan G. Komen Puget Sound and the Northwest affiliate of Young Survival Coalition. She was also chosen to serve as a spokesperson for Under Armour’s nationwide breast cancer awareness campaign.  Steffanie brings legislative knowledge, dedication to community, and the energy of an avid runner.

Mark Shaefer, Member
Mark is the managing partner of Hop Jack’s restaurants and brings over 35 years of experience in the hospitality industry. He has developed a deep working knowledge of Trillium, having hired his first supported employee with our help back in 2012 at the Silverdale location. Today, Hop Jack’s has 13 employees with intellectual disabilities at seven locations across Kitsap, King, Pierce and Snohomish counties.  It’s a thriving company with many expansion plans and a commitment to continue their practice of including people with disabilities in their growing workforce.

In 2015, Mark accepted the Governor’s Employer Award for his success in those efforts.  You can watch a video of his acceptance speech for the award —demonstrating his passion for supported employment.

Karen Satterberg, Member
Karen has been the Community Relations Director for Wesley Homes Lea Hill in Auburn for over 7 years. She comes to us with a background of being in the Financial markets for 26 years prior to that. Karen graduated from WSU in Hospitality Management and worked for Hyatt Hotels right out of school. Active in Auburn Rotary and being on their board, working on the Committee for Partners for Work program, is how she came to know about the wonderful work that Trillium is doing. Wesley has hired several Trillium clients; which both the management and residents are thrilled with. She also brings personal insight as she is a mother to a 22 year old Autistic young man.

Katie Hilen, Member
Katie and her family live in Fife and she works for Multicare in Tacoma. She comes to us with a legal background. She currently serves as the Director of Revenue Cycle Policy and Compliance for Multicare Health Systems. As an attorney, she enjoys the opportunity to help Trillium troubleshoot challenges and review options in a different light. She became interested in joining Trillium to honor her late uncle and foster uncle, give back to the community and utilize her law degree in a different way. Her uncle, Joseph, was born with cerebral palsy in the late 1950’s; though, many opportunities were not available for him in his life. Her adopted uncle, Johnny, worked in a sheltered workshop for Being in Portland before the plant closed. He earned a living and demonstrated his skills. Katie is honored to be able to serve an organization who would advocate for individuals like her uncles.


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