Board Member Bios

Lionhardt Board of Directors
Blake Laidlaw
Andrew Plumlee
Michael Bain
Joe Leicht
Board Member
Kayla Eychner
Board Member
Karen Eckhardt Giesa
Executive Director

Blake Laidlaw currently sits as the Lionhardt Organization's Chairman. Blake's career has been almost entirely spent in Logistics, servicing at various levels of executive leadership, with both large and small corporations. In 2017, his life’s dream to serve his community came true when he was hired on with Valley Regional Fire Authority. As such, he has a unique and diverse breadth of experience and exposure both inside and outside of the fire service, which provides an invaluable perspective to our team.

Blake is also a long time, close friend of our champion Donovan Eckhardt. Blake and Donovan both moved to Mission Viejo, a town in Orange County California, in their junior high years. Having met playing football together as freshmen in high school, they started to develop a close bond focused on their mutual love of music, laughter and the outdoors. The friendship strengthened when they both found themselves in the Pacific Northwest where they enjoyed seeing each other married, starting families, and the many wonderful memories along the way.

Blake currently resides in Maple Valley, WA with his loving wife Shayna, daughter Mackenzie, and son Reed. He remains an avid lover of the outdoors, spending as much time as possible on a trail or campsite with his wife and children.

Andrew Plumlee has served 7 years with the Renton Fire and Emergency Services, and is our Vice- Chairman. Andrew had the tremendous luck to be hired with Donovan in recruit class 08-01, and was then assigned to the same shift (B) following the academy. Although he and Donovan rarely shared a station assignment, they often ran calls together and shared a friendship both at work and off duty.

Andrew is a lifelong resident of the Federal Way are currently residing with is wife Charity and three children, Kodie, Gabriel, and Ayden just outside Federal Way city limits. He and his family are currently working towards moving to Cle Elum, WA where they would continue their love for outdoor adventures.

Andrew wholeheartedly believes in Lionhardt and what we are striving to accomplish. There is no greater calling in life for him than to be his brother's and sister's keeper.

Michael Bain is a founding member of the Lionhardt organization, and is our Secretary. He is a transplanted Montanan who has served 15 years in the Renton Fire and Emergency Services Department. Mike's connection with Donovan was established from Donovan's first day on shift where he worked side-by-side with him for the entirety of his career. It was the deep bond between them that spawned the creation of the Lionhardt movement.

Mike was born and raised in Troy, Montana, and following attainment of his Bachelor's Degree in Recreation and Fitness Management in 1999, he and his wife Kimberly moved to the Seattle area. Mike has been employed with the Department of Defense as a Fitness Specialist as well as a stint as the Athletic Director for the Kirkland Boys and Girls Club prior to his enlistment in the Fire Service.

Mike currently resides in Port Orchard with his wife Kim and their two children Jackson age 8, and Peyton age 6. In his spare time away from Lionhardt and the Fire Service, Mike enjoys volunteering at his children's elementary, various outdoor pursuits, and sampling the blossoming craft brewery offerings in the area

Joe Leicht first heard of Lionhardt at the San Clemente, CA Sunrise Rotary Club. Having worked in the golf industry for nearly 28 years, Joe offered to be the Presenting Sponsor of the 1st Annual Lionhardt Golf Classic in November 2017. His industry knowledge, organizational skills and Master of Ceremony talents made the inaugural tournament a rousing success.

Joe resides in San Clemente, CA and is the owner of Farmer’s Insurance Agency in Costa Mesa, CA. He is an active Toastmaster, member of the San Clemente Sunrise Rotary, and will become its President in July 2018. Joe has volunteered once again to help produce the 2nd Annual Lionhardt Golf Classic to be held on November 7, 2018 at the Arroyo Trabuco Golf Club in Mission Viejo.

Kayla Eychner has just begun her fire service career with 2 years of service for the Renton Regional Fire Authority. Kayla first heard of Lionhardt from a firefighter/instructor while taking an EMT course at North Seattle College. Once hired by Renton RFA, she quickly learned that Lionhardt held a special place within the department. Many of the firefighters, lieutenants, captains, and battalion chiefs proudly display the Lionhardt logo on their helmets and rigs as a reminder of the benevolence that Donovan embodied.

Kayla didn't get to meet Donovan but she wants to support his legacy by helping the Lionhardt organization continue to grow and further assist firefighters and families in need.

Kayla currently resides in Seattle and spends her free time traveling anywhere she can, riding her motorcycle, hiking in the Cascades, rock climbing and spending time with friends and family.

Karen Eckhardt Giesa was named Executive Director of Lionhardt by the Board of Directors in November, 2017. A background in communications and development for the American Red Cross and the Cancer Support Community, and an experienced Toastmaster...Karen has the qualifications to lead the charge. She considers her two firefighter sons, Donovan and Gannon, to be her greatest life accomplishments.