When founding ophthalmologist Dr. Nannette Crowell moved to the Skagit Valley in 1985 with her dentist husband Rodney Brandt and their infant first daughter, she had no idea her single ophthalmology practice in Sedro Woolley would blossom into the all-encompassing vision center it is today. Dr. Crowell and Dr. Brandt established joint eye and dental clinics in a single building near United General Hospital and hired Sheri Saldivar, their first employee, as office manager. Sheri still ably oversees Cascadia Eye as CEO/Administrator of our much larger organization!
Growing Up On the Job
By fall of 1987 they had seven other employees between the two practices, including then-high-school-student Andrea Tingley (now Andrea Shick) as an office assistant, and little Alex Brandt, resident “Office Baby.” Today, Ande is our clinical supervisor and Dr. Siapco’s lead technician, and also the second longest-term employee the practice has ever had (she even worked during college!) Baby Alex, a patient favorite in the early days of the clinic, is now Cascadia Eye’s marketing assistant and blogger.
If You Build It They Will Come
In 1989, Dr. Crowell added her first associate and renamed the clinic North Cascade Eye Associates. Soon after, Dr. Brandt moved to his own clinic in the building next door, and Dr. Crowell expanded to include a full-service optical department. It was the beginning of the practice’s quest to encompass all areas of vision service for the benefit of Skagit Valley.
Acquiring eye specialists was the second step in this quest. Dr. Tim Heffernan was one of the first specialists to join as an associate, coming from Seattle to perform eyelid surgery since 1992. Over the years, more surgeons and optometrists joined the practice in serving other specific eye-related needs, including one of the only pediatric specialists in the area, Dr. David Epley.
When Dr. Crowell began looking for another ophthalmologist as a partner, Dr. Dan Siapco was still in his last year of residency. But his reputation preceded him as a skilled surgeon, and Dr. Crowell was so impressed (and the practice was such a perfect fit for him) that she signed him on a year before he graduated! Since joining the team in 2004, Dr. Siapco has now become a full partner and co-owner.
For Your Eyes Only
Also in June 2004, Cascadia Eye built a brand-new main office, centrally located in Mount Vernon, and fitted it with state-of-the-art equipment, an extensive optical shop, and room for a surgery center, which was added in May of 2008. As this was the first surgery center in Skagit County completely dedicated to eyes, the doctors invested in the latest technology for their procedures – cataract surgery, LASIK surgery, and more – and met the rigorous requirements to be fully certified by both Medicare and AAAHC (which assures quality and safety.)
Neighbors Serving Neighbors
With the best technology and procedures now available, the next step was to hire another surgeon. But first, the practice branched out – yet again – to fulfill a need for ophthalmologists in Stanwood and Camano Island. With this new clinic also came another highly-qualified eye doctor – Dr. Maria VanNurden, whose Master’s degree in addition to her optometric degree not only gave her valuable expertise, but also made her an excellent support for Dr. Siapco’s post-operative patients.
Cascadia Eye was delighted to add Skagit Valley’s first cornea specialist and surgeon, Dr. Carlindo Pereira, in August 2010. He quickly gained a reputation as a kind, thorough expert on all aspects of the eye, and became the practice’s third full partner in 2012. In 2015, we welcomed exceptional optometrist Dr. Roslyn Howell to the practice – just in time to ably serve our new location in Anacortes, which opened in August of that year, in addition to seeing patients in Mount Vernon and Stanwood.
Also in 2015, North Cascade Eye Associates reached a new milestone – 30 years in practice – and changed its name to Cascadia Eye, to reflect a new independent spirit and also hark back to its strong local ties.
As Cascadia Eye has evolved through the years into a thriving, connected vision center, focusing on bringing the latest technological advances to every aspect of your eyes, it hasn’t lost the family-friendly heart it began with all those years ago. Join us as we continue to grow together, loving and serving the communities of Skagit Valley and North Snohomish, for years to come!
If you would like more information, or if you would like to schedule a consultation at Cascadia Eye, please contact us today.