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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 and Washington State employers since 1983. We connect people with disabilities to employment opportunities. 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.


As the governing body of Trillium Employment Services, the Board of Directors have the following general duties and responsibilities:

  • Set and annually review the policies and procedures of the corporation including the Trillium mission statement, program goals and objectives, by-laws, personnel and accounting policies, et cetera.
  • Employ, delegate authority to, and formally (annual) and informally (on-going) evaluate the Executive Director whose primary responsibilities will be the management and administration of all the elements of Trillium in accordance with the policies established by the Board of Directors.
  • Monitor the relevance, quality, and effectiveness of Trillium’s programs in relation to its mission and goals.
  • Adopt an annual budget, establish policies for the administration of funds, and regularly review the financial status of Trillium.

Laurie Ford, President

Laurie earned an M.S. in Counseling from the University of Oregon and moved to Seattle in 1977 intending to be a marriage counselor. Along the way she took a part-time job at the University of  Washington teaching adults with developmental disabilities how to work in the food service industry as part of one of the first supported employment programs in the US – and never did get back into counseling!

She left the UW in 1989 to join the Center for Continuing Education in Rehabilitation (CCER) which was then at Seattle University and is now part of the Department of Rehabilitation Medicine at the UW. At CCER, Laurie was involved in continuing education and technical assistance for Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) agencies and community rehabilitation programs for over thirty years. She also had opportunities to serve on national advisory committees including the Adequacy of Incentives Committee for the Ticket to Work and Work Incentives Improvement Act and state bodies such as the Statewide Independent Living Council, and to write a book on employment services for people with psychiatric disabilities among other things. Most recently Laurie has been providing technical assistance to VR agencies nationally on topics such as supported employment and business engagement. She retired from CCER on January 1, 2021.

Pierce County
Karen Satterberg, Vice President

Karen Satterberg has been the Senior living Industry for 13 years, currently Marketing Dir. for GenCare Lifestyle of Federal Way . 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 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. She also brings personal insight as she is a mother to a 26 year old Autistic young man.

Burien, WA
William Cowart, Secretary/Treasurer

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 request 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.

Auburn, WA

Bryan Ruff, Member

Bryan is the Director of Client Services for Builders Capital, the nations largest private lender for residential construction projects. Bryan graduated from the University of Hawai’i at Manoa where he received his bachelor’s degree in economics and later graduated from the Pacific Coast Banking School (University of Washington Foster School of Business). He has been on the Trillium board since 2014. 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.

David Murahashi, Member

David Murahashi has been a Training & Technical Assistance Manager at Wise since 2022 and has worked in the disability field since 2009. David’s work is inspired by his sister who experiences Down syndrome and his own journey after a brain injury. He found his calling after job coaching students in School to Work which led him to pursue a degree in special education. He has developed programs and curriculum designed to help people with disabilities and their families prepare for future life and employment in their community. He finds joy in facilitating Person-Centered Plans that help individuals find their voice and help them make their hopes and dreams a reality. David has a strong belief that with the right support, all people have the skills, abilities and right to live, learn, work, and play in THEIR community.

Bellevue, WA
Rebecca Petris, Member

Rebecca is founder and owner of the Dry Eye Shop in Poulsbo, which since 2005 has been serving a nationwide audience of people suffering from corneal diseases such as Stevens Johnson Syndrome, Graft v Host Disease, Thyroid Eye Disease and Sjogrens Syndrome. A dedicated patient advocate, Rebecca is also co-founder and president of the Dry Eye Foundation, a 501c3 nonprofit working to provide community support and education to the ocular surface disease communities. Rebecca loves fostering a diverse team in her workspaces and drawing out everyone’s best strengths, and feels that learning to fully respect and value our fellow humans in the workplace is an exciting lifelong pursuit.

Poulsbo, WA
Kris Krohn, Member

Kristen (Kris) Krohn’s interest in the field of Intellectual/Developmental Disabilities began as a teen volunteer at the YMCA, and as a Teacher’s Assistant in her high school Special Ed program in the 70’s. Seeking special education and recreation programs at Western WA University, she graduated with a BA in Recreation and Park Management.

Kris worked as a Recreation Therapist, Direct Support Staff, and Para Educator, and then 31/2 years in Alaska as a live-in House Parent/Manager with 4 children from native villages. The following 23 years were at The Arc of SW WA as the Adult Programs Manager overseeing Supported Living, Payee and Guardianship Programs, Community Inclusion, People First, etc.

The last nine years Kris was at Developmental Disabilities Administration, first as a Case Resource Manager then a Supervisor before retiring in 2022.

In retirement, Kris enjoys running, hike, biking, paddling, reading, volunteering with Special Olympics Cycling, TopSoccer, PEACENW, and continues to seek opportunities to make a difference in her community and the state.

Vancouver, WA
Ryan Larson, Member

Meet Ryan, a seasoned relationship-builder with a 25-year track record in quality compliance software, high-speed internet, and cable TV. Known for his strategic sales skills, presentation abilities, and top-notch service, he’s now mastering CRM management and promoting tech efficiency within his current role.

Motivated by his brother Rocky, a decorated Special Olympics weightlifting champion, Ryan has developed a deep understanding of the unique needs and services for individuals with intellectual disabilities.

A proud Snohomish County native with a Master’s in Sports Management, Ryan loves epic hikes, all things Norwegian, and spoiling his 12-year-old Golden Retriever.

Snohomish County