Cheney Free Press -

By Luella Dow

Pollard's bring unique energy to Cheney streets

Of Cabbages and Kings


Fred Pollard takes a break from his busy schedule to pose for a picture with his wife Gail.

When Fred and Gail Pollard moved to Cheney eight years ago they brought with them ideas and plans and a vision for a different way of living. With their two daughters, Annmarie and Marianne, who are now 16 and 13, they found Cheney a welcoming place to call home. “We were looking for a safe place for our children to grow up, where we could be assured they would be alright,”Gail Pollard said.

Fred Pollard, with 25 years experience, is an accomplished equipment and facilities engineer. He is always interested in various forms of energy and looking forward to something new. He has designed a house combining steel shipping containers with straw bales. “The structural strength from steel and the super insulation from straw bales is a way to unite old and new technology,”he said. The completion of their house to be built on rural acreage will have steel studs with drywall and the exterior will be stucco over the straw bales. You will see when it is finished it is a very normal looking house.

Pollard,always thinking as an engineer, has designed a floor heating system, he said,“Using solar vacuum tubes that are heated by the sun’s energy. “ There will also be wood and propane boilers to provide back –up heat sources for the radiant floor system in case of a really cold winter.

How about lighting the house? The Pollards have it all figured out. “The house lighting will be solar light tubes by day and LED lighting and candles by night,” they said. “We are making use of passive solar designs to cool in the summer and help keep things warm in the winter.”

Fred is making use of an old well pump which will be used with an electric motor and can be operated by hand and wind power. The Pollards are documenting their progress to be able to share with others who would be interested.

In the meantime, the Pollard’s are busy with other interests as well. Gail is president of the West Plains Beekeepers Association. They have been active with bees for three years. “Washington state is one of the largest exporting states in America, the number one export from Washington is Agriculture,” Gail said. Gail emphasizes that without bees there would be little to export. Even alfalfa hay needs bees so that it can grow year after year. She quoted a statistic that our country has lost 30 percent of its bees, mostly because of harmful chemicals that penetrate plants and kill bees. Noting the importance of replacing the 30 percent loss, Gail said, “We all need to help restore our bee population.”

Fred Pollard is running for a second term as a Cheney City Councilman. He is currently designing reliability maintenance programs for manufacturing, engineering upgrades to production equipment and improving facilities systems that support industry. He is chair-elect for SME248, a chapter of Society of Manufacturing Engineers. Pollard has some excellent ideas to bring more industry to Cheney.“SME is reaching out into the region to help attract manufacturing,”he said.”SME can assist our agencies with technical resources that will increase jobs, increase revenues for our municipalities and can reduce taxes and fees for our residents by helping to attract more sustainable manufacturing to our region.”

We must mention the Pollards are active in Kiwanis, enjoying the social gatherings and helping with the projects that benefit our community. Their enthusiasm for working, planning, reaching out to develop ideas keep Fred and Gail Pollard busy and excited about what the future will bring. There may be a place for you to help. Sound exciting?

Luella Dow is a Cheney-area author. She can be reached at


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