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Board of Directors

To provide youth with exceptional educational and life-enhancing experiences in the performing arts.

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Brian Fisher

Chairman of the Board

Brian began his pageantry career as a French horn player in both middle school and high school on the west coast of Florida.  After high school he became a charter member of the Suncoast Sound Drum & Bugle Corps playing French horn the first year in the corps and then serving as drum major his last 3 years.  After aging out, he spent 4 years as the tour director for the corps while simultaneously attending and graduating from Southeastern Louisiana University with a BA in Business Administration in 1987.

Brian’s professional career spans many years of sales, project management and customer service roles for family-owned businesses to fortune 500 companies.  He returned to the pageantry world in 2006 with the DCI Open Class corps Teal Sound, as President of Teal Sound Inc.. He held that position until the end of the 2010 season when the corps completed its first season in World Class.  Brian continues to give back to the pageantry arts community as a sought-after event coordinator of both outdoor and indoor pageantry events.  He has organized events for circuits all over the country including Drum Corps International, Winter Guard International, Northwest Association for Performing Arts, Florida Federation of Colorguard Circuits and the Winterguard Association of Southern California. 

After living most of his life in Florida, Brian and his wife Christine now live in Portland Oregon with their dog Boo.

Letha Nelson

Letha Nelson


Letha has served as an active volunteer with the Cascades Drum Corps since 2009 when her son began marching with the corps. Letha also continues to support her local high school program in Ferndale, Washington where she lives with her husband, Rod. Letha attended business college in Seattle and is a certified human resources professional.  She currently works as the office manager of a construction company and manages several property associations in Whatcom County.

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Suzanne Sexton


Suzanne joined the Seattle Cascades Winterguard program in 1980-81 season and was a member of both Winterguard and Summer Corps through 1985. She was on the Instructional staff from 1986-1988, teaching M&M and the Colorguard. Suzanne marched her age-out year of Summer corps with the Spartans Drum & Bugle Corps of Vancouver, WA in 1989 and two Winterguard age-out years in 1989 and 1990, thanks to a rule change in 1989, with the Emerald City Revue. She joined the NYMA board in 2004 for one season, then ran off and got married. Returning to the board in 2012, Suzanne served as Treasurer 2012 to 2016, Secretary 2017 to 2019, and is currently Secretary/Treasurer.

Suzanne readily acknowledges the many life lessons drum corps has taught her including; perseverance, self-reliance, the importance of sunscreen and how to do her laundry. She would also like to thank her mom for not letting her quit halfway through her rookie Winterguard season. Her mom, years later, jokingly admitted to regretting teaching that life lesson as Suzanne’s passion for Winterguard and drum corps would continue through high school, college and beyond.


Suzanne holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Art History and a Graduate Certificate in Accounting from the University of Washington. She has worked for Seattle Children’s Research Institute since 2004, currently as Senior Accountant in the Immunotherapy program. She lives with her husband, Eric, and their two cats, Ink and Ebony, in North Seattle.


Gary Lynch


Gary began watching drum corps in 1970; he joined the Seattle Cascades as a French horn player in 1975 and march through 1978.  He has continued to watch drum corps and color guards from the sidelines and has been a supporter of the art though the years.  Gary is a Certified Payroll Professional who has held leadership positions for companies such as Starbucks, Colliers International and Comcast.

Gary looks forward to giving back to the Cascades using his management, organizational and team building skills.


David Haining


Dave grew up in Bothell, WA and graduated from WSU with a dual vocal/instrumental degree in music in 1966.  He was the head of high school instrumental music programs in Philadelpha, PA, South Plainfield, NJ and Bothell, WA.   Dave was first associated with the Seattle Cascades as a brass instructor from 1975-1977.  Returning to the corps in 2002 as head of marketing during the DCI top-12 season, Dave was responsible for souvenir sales throughout the national tour.  He became the Cascades’ PR/Marketing Director in 2016, handling marketing locally and on tour, and joined the board of directors in 2017.

Rod Nelson

Rod Nelson


Rod was introduced to the Cascades in 2009 when his son joined the corps.  He has been volunteering from 2010 to the present.  Rod has been a member of the board of directors since 2013.  He has also served as the Volunteer Coordinator and now works primarily as a member administrator.  
Rod helped start the marching program and booster organization for Bellingham High School.  He served as part of the design team as well as instructional staff from 2003-2010.  Rod joined the instructional staff at Ferndale High School in 2009 where he continues to teach.  Rod works for BP at the Cherry Point Refinery where he is a storehouse technician as well as a certified shipper of hazardous material.

Ed Petkavich - Director

Ed Petkavich


Ed originally joined the Seattle Cascades in 1974 and served as their brass instructor through 1977. He’d been involved in the Drum Corps activity since he was sixteen years old and performed with several east coast organizations, culminating with the Baltimore Yankee Rebels senior corps. Ed holds a BS degree in Mechanical Engineering and prior to his retirement from the Boeing Company after 19 years, held management positions in Manufacturing Engineering, Environmental Health and Safety, and Facilities Management with Olin/Rocket Research.


Brian Toole


Brian has served as the Director of Food Services, Media Director and IT Director for the Seattle Cascades since 2014, the same year in which he joined the Board.

Leveraging his 35+ years of experience in the software industry, Brian is responsible for producing all Cascades promotional videos, posters, banners and other marketing collateral, as well maintaining our website, YouTube channel and internal IT infrastructure.

Brian’s wife of 40 years, Jacquie also volunteers with the corps as a lead cook, and several of his 3 children and 5 grandchildren have also lent their efforts, helping to renovate the mobile kitchen, delivering supplies or just providing moral support. Brian marched with the Maple City Cadets from La Porte County Indiana in the late 70’s and is a veteran of the United States Air Force. Brian spent 20 years in various roles at Microsoft, and is currently the Director of Operations and Support for Demand Driven Technologies.


Dr. Troy Bennefield


Since 2014 Dr. Troy Bennefield has served as Associate Director of Bands and Director of Athletic Bands at Washington State University. In this role he oversees all aspects of the athletic bands, is the principal conductor of the Symphonic Band, and assists the Director of Bands with the Symphonic Wind Ensemble and instrumental conducting courses. Under his leadership, his ensembles have demonstrated growth both in size and performance quality, with the Cougar Marching Band reaching nearly 250 members for the first time since the early 2000s. 


Dr. Bennefield has been involved with the Marching Arts in some capacity since 1994 including as a high school band director, DCI performer and instructor, WGI instructor, state-level championship indoor and outdoor adjudicator, contest coordinator, and a decade as a collegiate director. Dr. Bennefield looks forward to bringing his organizational, educational, recruitment, and development experience to the board to assist the growth and improved experience for all associated with NWMA and the Seattle Cascades. 


Dr. Clifford A. Lipscomb


Clifford A. Lipscomb, Ph.D., MRICS is a Managing Director, Public Policy, at Inveniam Capital Partners and Chief Investment Officer at the High Speed Alliance.  He is a valuation professional with more than 25 years of experience in economic and statistical analysis, survey design, consulting, and teaching. His previous employment includes the Georgia Institute of Technology (2019-2021), Greenfield Advisors (2010-2019), Valdosta State University (2005-2010), George Mason University (2004-2005), and the U.S. Department of Commerce, Bureau of Economic Analysis (2003-2005). Dr. Lipscomb was a Visiting Scholar at the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta from 2014-2017. 
Dr. Lipscomb is currently the Managing Editor for the Journal of Real Estate Practice and Education, an Associate Editor for the Journal of Real Estate Literature, and an industry board member of the Journal of Sustainable Real Estate. His work has been featured in The Washington Post, Wealth Management Real Estate, Yahoo! Finance, Bloomberg BNA, The Los Angeles Times, Atlanta Business Chronicle, and HousingWire magazine. 
Cliff has a deep musical background.  He was the drum major of the Cass High School band for three years.  Then, during his undergraduate years at Berry College, he performed with the Symphonic Band and Jazz Ensemble.  Also, in 1995, he marched with the Magic of Orlando Drum and bugle corps, finishing in 12th place at finals and winning the Individual and Ensemble championship for Cymbal Ensemble.  Then, during his doctoral studies at the Georgia Institute of Technology, Cliff was a member of the Yellow Jacket Marching Band and worked with Georgia Tech’s first indoor percussion ensemble, which won the WGI College Class championship in Dayton, OH in 1999.  At Valdosta State University, in addition to his professorial duties, Cliff coordinated all of the percussion activities for the Blazin’ Brigade Marching Band from 2006-2010.  Also during that time, Cliff served in various capacities, including as Chairman of the Board, of Teal Sound Inc. in Florida in the mid to late 2000s.   
Cliff continues to adjudicate marching band and indoor percussion contests primarily in the Southeast.  He lives in Cartersville, GA with his wife Amelia and five children. 


Associate Board Members

  • Garth Stubbs

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