Melanie J. Dressel was appointed President and Chief Executive Officer of Columbia Bank, the sole commercial banking subsidiary of Columbia Banking System, Inc. in January 2000, and has served as CEO of Columbia Banking System, Inc. (COLB) since February of 2003. Columbia Banking System, Inc. is the holding company for Columbia State Bank, headquartered in Tacoma, Washington, and Bank of Astoria, headquartered in Astoria, Oregon.
Dressel joined Columbia Bank in 1993, at the beginning of the Company’s major expansion into Tacoma/Pierce County, as senior vice president of private banking. In May 1997, Dressel was promoted to executive vice president of retail banking where she directed the operations, investments, private banking and marketing/communications divisions of Columbia Bank, as well as the branch network.
Prior to Columbia, Dressel directed the private banking division of Puget Sound Bank. Between 1974 and 1988, she held various positions with the Bank of California.
Ms. Dressel is a graduate of the University of Washington with a degree in Political Science. She is a member on the Boards of Executive Council for a Greater Tacoma (CoChair), Washington Bankers Association (past Chair), Washington State Economic Development Commission (Chair), Washington Roundtable, the ArtsFund and the Washington State Historical Society (Treasurer). She also serves on the Government Relations Council for the American Bankers Association. She recently served as Board member of Foss Waterway Development Authority and Bellarmine Preparatory School. She further served as Chair of the Boards of Mary Bridge Childrens Foundation and Tacoma/Pierce County Chamber of Commerce. She serves on numerous committees in relation to those organizations. She was the 2003 Campaign Chair for United Way of Pierce County, and the 2006 Campaign Chair for the Go Red for Women Committee of the American Heart Association. In 2006 she was named one of the 25 Most Powerful Women in Banking by U. S. Banker Magazine for the 3rd consecutive year. Dressel’s past volunteer activities include serving on the board and executive committees for the Tacoma Art Museum, United Way of Pierce County and past president of the Tacoma Club.