CHELAN — Mike Cooney, who helped found and has led the Chelan Valley Housing Trust since its inception in 2018, is turning over the reins of the nonprofit to a new executive director.

Steven Wilkinson, who was a commercial banker in Whatcom County for years and most recently served as the executive director of the South Central Kansas Economic Development District, will take over the post on Oct. 1.

CVHT Board President Tim Hollingsworth said Wilkinson’s experience will help take the organization to the next level, which includes tackling some larger and more complex projects now in the planning stages.

“With the potential of developing 100 homes in the next five to seven years, his expertise going forward will be invaluable,” Hollingsworth said in a press release.

The Chelan Valley Housing Trust’s mission is to develop stable and secure housing that is affordable to Manson and Chelan area residents.

“Getting to know Mike Cooney and the board has shown me how absolutely passionate they are about providing housing that is affordable to families who work in the Lake Chelan Valley,” Wilkinson said.

His work in Kansas, which focused on enhancing the economic vitality, community infrastructure and housing quality in the region, will serve him well in his new post, he said.

“We financed new innovative business ventures, assisted local communities in attaining crucial economic development grants, renovated residential properties and provided weatherization assistance to low-income households located in 41 southern Kansas counties,” he said.

Cooney took the job with the agreement that he would not work past this year, executive administrator Rachael Goldie said. The search for his replacement started this summer. Six applications were received by the July 4 deadline.

“We interviewed a total of three qualified applicants,” she said. “Two applicants moved on to the second round of interviews, and one came out as a clear choice for everyone on the hiring committee.”

For details on the organization, go to

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Nevonne McDaniels: (509) 664-7151