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About Us

About Prothman
Prothman specializes in providing national and regional executive recruitment services to large and small cities, counties, special districts, non-profits, and other governmental agencies throughout the United States. Driven by our passion for local government, Prothman is known and respected for our outstanding customer service, quality candidate pools, and firsthand knowledge of local government.

Our Expertise

Recruitment Knowledge and Experience:
  The Prothman team has conducted over 500 recruitments and interim placements. We have read and screened over 15,000 resumes, and we have personally interviewed over 6,000 semifinalist candidates. We know how to read between the lines, filter the fluff, and drill down to the qualities and experiences required to be a good manager.

Firsthand Knowledge of Local Government:
  Every Prothman team member has worked in local government. Our talented consultants have a cumulative 285 years in local government service, with expertise ranging from organization management, police and fire management, human resources, finance, planning, public works, and elected official public service.

Our Proven Process
Clients and candidates continually tell us that we have the best process and client service in the industry. The tenure of our placements is among the best in the industry because we understand that "fit" is the most important part of the process; not just fit within your organization but fit within the community as well.

Our Team

Sonja Prothman
As the leader of Prothman since 2007, Sonja has utilized her knowledge and deep passion for local government to be the strategic and creative driver for all Prothman affairs. As Owner and CEO, she handles the development and preparation for the future growth of Prothman, manages all Prothman team members, organizes and performs the day-to-day operations, coordinates all client correspondence and responds to all RFP's, and she assists with all recruitments, interim placements, and organizational assessments. A Seattle native, Sonja earned a Bachelor's Degree in Communications from the University of Washington. After starting her early career in newspaper advertising then moving on to Boeing, she chose to be a dedicated stay-at-home mother to her three daughters for 14 years. Having been born and raised in Normandy Park, Washington, she felt passionate about the local area and registered to run for a city council position against a 10 year incumbent and won. As a council member Sonja developed a great understanding of the logistics and importance of local government. Her experiences as a city council member and working firsthand with local government agencies for nearly 15 years has proven to be an invaluable perspective for understanding our clients' needs.  

John Hodgson
John has been a senior consultant with Prothman since 2013 and brings 33 years of municipal service including, most recently, 7 ½ years as City Administrator/Chief Administrative Officer for the City of Kent, the sixth largest city in the state of Washington. Prior to that, he had 26 years in parks and recreation management for the cities of Vancouver, WA, Metropolitan Park District of Tacoma, and Director of Parks, Recreation and Community Services for the City of Kent from 1994-2005. John served as president of the Kiwanis Club of Kent, president of Washington Recreation and Parks Association (WRPA), president of the Regional Council of the National Recreation and Parks Association (NRPA), and is founder and current president of the Kent Parks Foundation. John’s awards for his service include Kent Chamber of Commerce Public Employee of the Year, WRPA Honor Fellow, Kiwanis Distinguished President, and the Kent Lions Club Community Service Award. John has a Bachelor of Science degree in Parks and Recreation Management from the University of Oregon (1980) and completed the Cascade Management Series from the University of Washington Graduate School of Public Affairs (1992).

Steve Worthington
Steve has been a senior consultant with Prothman since 2012 and brings more than 30 years of successful leadership in local government. He is currently in his second four-year term as a council member for the City of University Place, Washington, and is now serving as Mayor Pro Tem, as well. Prior to retirement, after 6 years as the City Manager for the City of Fife, Washington, Steve served as Community Development Director for six years in Fife and for nine years for the City of Cheney, Washington.  Steve was also an economic development specialist for the Spokane WA Economic Development Council, a member of the Association of Washington Cities Legislative Task Force, and an Economic Development Board Tacoma/Pierce County Trustee.  Steve has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Speech Communications from the University of Washington, and a Master of Public Administration degree from Eastern Washington University.
Bill McDonald
Bill has been associated with the Prothman team for over 20 years and brings 42 years of experience and knowledge in local government in Washington and Oregon states. With nearly 30 years experience as a City Manager/Administrator, his past service includes City Manager, Puyallup, WA, City Administrator, DuPont, WA, City Manager, Snohomish, WA, and City Manager, Clatskanie, OR. He has also been a County Commissioner for Columbia County, OR, Assistant to the City Manager, Milwaukie, OR, Operational Planner for Clackamas County, OR, and Planner/Analyst for the Columbia Region Association of Governments (now Metro). Bill has a MPA from Portland State University. His awards include the 2010 Excellence Award from the Washington City County Management Association.

Gary Milliman
Recognized by the International City/County Management Association (ICMA) with the highly prestigious Career Excellence Award, Gary brings more than 45 years of experience in city management and public affairs to the Prothman team. As a senior consultant since 2019, Gary has served as a City Manager in cities with populations ranging from 2,800 to 105,000 in California and Oregon, with 35-450 employees. In South Gate, California, he was principally responsible for rebuilding that city’s organization, financial stability and reputation following a period of political corruption and mismanagement. Gary has served as City Manager in Cotati, Fort Bragg and Bell Gardens, California, and in Brookings, Oregon, as well as serving as Southern California Director for the League of California Cities. He has also been recognized by ICMA with the Management Innovation Award and as a Life Member. Gary recently received the prestigious Herman Kehrli Award for his outstanding public service career from the League of Oregon Cities. Having completed an undergraduate degree in journalism, Gary earned a Master of Public Administration from the University of Southern California (USC) and completed the Senior Executives in State and Local Government program at Harvard University. A Senior Fellow at Portland State University (PSU), Gary serves on the PSU Department of Public Administration Advisory Committee and serves on the City/County Management Fellowship Board of Directors at the University of Southern California.

Robert Carden
Bob has been a senior consultant with Prothman since 2008 and brings more than 37 years of law enforcement experience to the Prothman team, including having been Police Chief for three cities with populations ranging from 20,000 to 125,000. He retired as Police Chief from the City of Visalia, California, in 2009. At Visalia, he administered a budget of over $27 million and oversaw a department of over 200 fulltime personnel. Prior to Visalia, he was Police Chief for the City of Marysville, Washington, for eight years, and was also Chief of Police for the City of Lemoore, California. Earlier in his career, Bob also served the Tulare County Sheriff's Department and the Wasco Police Department, both in California. Most recently, Bob has worked through Prothman as interim Police Chief for the City of Battle Ground, Washington. Bob has a Bachelor of Science degree in Criminal Justice from Culver-Stockton College, Missouri, and a Master of Science degree in Management from California State Polytechnic University.

Warren Merritt
Warren is a 3rd generation firefighter and began his fire service career in 1974 as a volunteer firefighter with King County Fire District #10 (now Eastside Fire & Rescue) serving the fire district for 20 years concurrent with his employment in Bellevue. In 1980 he began his professional career with the City of Bellevue Fire Department rising through the ranks to Deputy Chief, retiring from Bellevue in 2012 to become a fire chief in Idaho. During his time at Bellevue Fire he was assigned to Operations, Training and the Emergency Medical Services Division; he served for seven (7) years as a Deputy Chief of Operations in Bellevue. Warren was appointed and served as the Fire Chief for Kootenai County Fire & Rescue in Post Falls, Idaho from February 28, 2012 until his retirement on January 3, 2020. Warren has an Associate Degree in Fire Command & Administration, a Bachelor of Science in Public Safety Administration, is a graduate from the National Fire Academy Executive Fire Officer Program and is a certified Chief Fire Officer (CFOD) thru the Center for Public Safety Excellence (CPSE). Warren's experience provides unique insight into fire district and municipal fire services in volunteer, combination, and career fire departments.

Gary Buchanan
Gary brings 31 years of successful Human Resources leadership experience to the Prothman Team. He recently served 5 years as the Director of Human Resources for the City of Tacoma, WA, population 212,869, until his retirement in June, 2021. Gary also served 14 years at the Port of Seattle as the Human Resources Director. The Port of Seattle encompasses both the Seattle Seaport and Seattle Tacoma International Airport.  Prior to that he served 9 years as the Senior Human Resources Leader (Northwest Region) for Milgard Windows headquartered in Tacoma, WA. Additionally, Gary served 30 Years in the Naval Reserve. His Naval career included 3 Command assignments and he was deployed twice in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. In 2019 he retired as a Captain earning the Legion of Merit Medal and the Meritorious Service Medal. Gary received his Bachelor of Science degree from Westminster College, Salt Lake City, UT and his Naval Science degree from the University of Utah. 

Cliff Moore
Cliff Moore joins Prothman after a 30 year career of public service in Washington State. Cliff’s background includes senior administrative positions at Washington State University in Pullman and executive leadership positions at the university’s Extension offices in both Jefferson and Thurston Counties. Cliff has also served as County Manager and Development Services Director at Thurston County and as City Manager in Yakima. Prior to his years of public service, Cliff worked abroad as a Peace Corps volunteer in Togo, West Africa; he was Assistant Country Director for the CARE mission in Honduras; and he was the Director of the US Refugee Resettlement Office in Khartoum, Sudan. Cliff lives in Port Townsend with his wife Mea and their two dogs, Addie and Lucy. 

Barry Gaskins
Barry has been a key member of the Prothman team since 2004 and is responsible for candidate management. His attention to detail and understanding of timeliness to the customer and candidates is remarkable. Barry works with the lead consultant in following through with scheduling interviews, arranging candidate travel, managing candidate application packets, and assembly of candidate information to give to the client. Barry came to Prothman from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation where he served as a Program Assistant for four years in the US Library Program. Barry earned his Bachelor's Degree from California State University in Los Angeles.
Jared Eckhardt
Jared has been a key member of the Prothman team since 2015 and is responsible for profile development and candidate outreach. Jared works one-on-one with the client for position profile development and works with Sonja and the lead consultant on each client’s outreach strategies. Jared also functions as recruitment support as a secondary consultant lead on special projects. Jared graduated from the University of Washington earning his Bachelor’s in Communications.
Madison Lindquist
Madison has been a key member of the Prothman team since 2015 and is responsible for Prothman’s social media, direct mail outreach, website development, and Online Application Service support. Madison works one-on-one with the client to ensure optimal outreach in all available social networking resources and works one-on-one with the clients who choose to use the Online Application Service application portal. Madison also functions as recruitment support as a secondary consultant lead on special projects. Madison graduated from the University of Washington earning her Bachelor’s in Communications.



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Issaquah, WA 98027

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