March 10, 2022
Staff Accomplishment

Linnen Honored Among WSU Tri-Cities Women of Distinction

Award recognizes female leaders for positive impact on university, regional community

Paula Linnen

Paula Linnen, executive director of external affairs at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, is among the 2022 Washington State University Tri-Cities Women of Distinction. 

(Photo by Andrea Starr | Pacific Northwest National Laboratory)

Paula Linnen, executive director of external affairs at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL), has been named one of the 2022 Washington State University (WSU) Tri-Cities Women of Distinction. The honor recognizes Linnen’s exemplary leadership and meaningful contributions to the university and regional Tri-Cities community.

Linnen received the award March 9 during a ceremony at the university’s campus in Richland, Washington. The event was held in conjunction with Women’s History Month.  

Linnen is the longest tenured person on PNNL’s executive committee. She has held several senior leadership roles since joining PNNL in 1991. In her current position, Linnen connects PNNL’s research to the outside world by building and nurturing powerful local, regional, and federal partnerships. Under her leadership, PNNL advances STEM education and workforce development in the Tri-Cities and across the state—creating thousands of jobs and internships for alumni and students from WSU and other regional colleges and universities.

"Paula is one of those rare individuals who combines vision, strategy, and execution to deliver amazing results with the highest standard of professional excellence," said PNNL Director Steven Ashby. "Whether it be her contributions to the mission of Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, or her numerous contributions to our community and state, Paula is a dynamic and highly respected leader deserving of this recognition."

Linnen has served the people of the Tri-Cities for more than 30 years—working to grow opportunities for education, inclusion, and economic development throughout the regional community. Currently, she is the chair of the Tri-City Regional Chamber of Commerce’s Regional Affairs Committee for the myTRI 2030 effort, an initiative to create a unified vision and strategy for the region. She is also a key organizer of the Regional Chamber’s annual Tri-Cities Diversity Summit.

Linnen has dedicated her time and leadership to many community organizations, including the Heritage University Board of Directors, Columbia Industries, the Washington State University Tri-Cities Advisory Council, the Tri-Cities March of Dimes, Junior Achievement, and Women Helping Women. In 2012, she received the ATHENA Leadership Award from the Regional Chamber for supporting, honoring, and developing women leaders.

Beyond the Tri-Cities, Linnen is a committee member on the board of overseers for the Stanford SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory. She also serves on the board of directors for the Washington State STEM Education Foundation and is the current chair of the Association of Washington Business.

Linnen plans to retire from PNNL in April 2022. She will leave a legacy of commitment to leading positive change at PNNL, in the regional community, and beyond. 

Published: March 10, 2022

Research topics