Meet Our Economic Development Team

Lisa Brown, Ph.D – Commerce Director

Lisa was appointed Director of the Department of Commerce by Governor Jay Inslee in January 2019. Before joining Commerce, she served as chancellor of the Spokane campus of Washington State University where she worked primarily in health sciences and played a major role in the creation of the new Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine. Prior to her work at WSU, she served in the Washington State Legislature as a senator for 16 years, serving as Senate majority leader, chair of the Ways and Means Committee, chair of the Rules Committee and chair of the Energy, Technology and Telecommunications Committee. Lisa served in the state House of Representatives for four years where she held the positions of minority whip and minority floor leader and served as an associate professor at both Gonzaga University and Eastern Washington University. Lisa earned her Ph.D. and master’s degree in economics from the University of Colorado and her bachelor’s degree from the University of Illinois. She has served on the boards of Ignite Northwest and YWCA Spokane. Her prior community service ranges from Greater Spokane Incorporated and the Empire Health Foundation to the Washington State Investment Board, among many others. Lisa has been honored by Catalyst Magazine with the “Power 50 Celebrating Influence” and “Women in Business Leadership” awards. She was also named Woman of the Year by Washington State University in 2013 and received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Early Learning Action Alliance that same year.

Chris Green – Assistant Director, Office of Economic Development & Competitiveness

Before joining Commerce, Chris served as Vice President for Business Retention and Expansion for the Economic Development Board for Tacoma-Pierce County, a private, non-profit organization focused on recruiting and retaining businesses in Pierce County. While working at the EDB, Chris worked with hundreds of firms helping them to identify tax incentives, workforce training options, financing packages and a variety of other resources to help them grow and create jobs. Chris also served as the current Co-Chair of the Tacoma-Pierce Aerospace Partners, a group focused on growing and improving the local aerospace industry. Prior to his work at the EDB, Chris worked in government relations and also worked on the staff of several elected officials, including former Congressman Norm Dicks, current Seattle Mayor Ed Murray and current Congressman Derek Kilmer.

Keith Swenson – Deputy Assistant Director, Office of Economic Development & Competitiveness

Keith joins Commerce from the Governor’s office where he served the past seven years with the Executive Operations team, with his last position being the Director of Boards and Commissions. In this role, he managed executive priorities through key stakeholder engagement, outreach and operational support to statewide boards and commissions. Keith’s private sector background is in the construction industry with experience in federal contracting, residential and commercial building.

Mary Ferguson – Operations Manager

Mary Ferguson is the Office of Economic Development & Competitiveness Operations Manager. Mary brings nine years of public sector experience with Alaska’s Department of Health and Social Services, with five of those years as the statewide Budget and Administrative Manager for the Division of Public Assistance. Before moving back to her hometown in 2011, Mary lived in Juneau, Alaska for 18 years.

Business Development

Open – Managing Director, Business Development

Jaclyn Perez – Program Manager

As Program Manager, Jaclyn works collaboratively with the Governor’s Office and the Office of Financial Management on the Governor’s Strategic Reserve Fund, which helps to attract, recruit and retain businesses in Washington State.  She also manages the Innovation Partnership Zone program that connects public, private and education partners to create collaboration between research, workforce training, employees and entrepreneurs within specific geographic areas.  In June 2015, Jaclyn was given the opportunity to manage the completion of OEDC’s State Small Business Credit Initiative program and the remaining reporting requirements. Jaclyn has worked for the Department of Commerce since 2005, managing federal and state infrastructure projects and contracting.

Radi Simeonova – Business Development Manager

As Business Development Manager with the Office of Economic Development and Competitiveness, Radi brings extensive experience in recruitment, sales, and business development to the team, particularly in the manufacturing industry. Born and raised in Bulgaria, Radi earned a B.A. in Journalism from Sofia University and relocated to the U.S. to pursue her Master’s degrees in Communications and Business Administration (MBA) from the University of New Mexico. Prior to joining the business development team, Radi worked for a clean tech manufacturing company for seven years as business development manager on international projects, serving as the lead for Eastern Europe, Asia and Pacific Rim. She most recently served as a college recruitment manager for a Santa Fe, New Mexico-based arts university, recruiting throughout Central and South America.

Evan Wendlandt – Business Development Manager

Before joining the Business Development Team in the Office of Economic Development and Competitiveness.  Evan earned a bachelor’s degree from The University of Wisconsin Oshkosh, where he studied Urban Regional Studies and minored in Business Administration.  Evan has been working in economic development since 2009. He has worked in both the public sector as the City of Berlin, Wisconsin Community Development Director and private non-profit sector for the Oshkosh Area Chamber of Commerce as their Economic Development Manager. In his spare time, Evan enjoys being outdoors, fishing, boating, biking and traveling.

Small Business Export Assistance

Isabelle DeWulf – Managing Director

Before joining Commerce’s Export Assistance team, Isabelle managed and developed the French-American Chamber of Commerce – Dallas/Fort Worth, whose mission is to promote trade and investment between France and North Texas with a focus on aerospace. Isabelle assisted U.S. companies enter or expand into the French market and acted as a liaison for the French-American business community, government agencies, trade and community-based organizations. Responsibilities included planning and organizing aerospace-related events such as ITAR seminars and an annual Aerospace Industry Forum, bringing together leaders in the aerospace industry providing procurement opportunities to small supply chain companies within the global aviation industry.

Amandine Crabtree – Aerospace International Trade Specialist

Amandine has more than 15 years of experience in business development and marketing within the aerospace and defense industries, identifying and growing partnership opportunities to create strong business brands across an extensive industry network. In her various roles, she has not only nurtured strong relationships with the local and national clusters, but also global concerns in Europe (France, Germany, Belgium and the UK) and Asia (Japan and South Korea), gaining a deep understanding of the complex ecosystems supplying major OEMs. In her new role, Amandine will assist small Washington State aerospace companies with their international business development goals, strengthening communities throughout the state. Amandine is a dual French/American citizen; she fell in love with Washington back in 2000 and made it her home since 2007, living in Seattle with her husband and three daughters.

Karl Dahlgren – Life Science/Global Health International Trade Specialist

Before joining Commerce, Karl was based in Santiago, Chile, serving as a freelance consultant for an international trade consulting firm on various projects in the Americas since 2009.  During the same period, he started importing cellphone charging kiosks from the U.S., sourced and founded his own coffee brand, and was granted a utility patent by the USPTO.  As a freelance consultant, Karl assisted companies in entering South American markets (and vice versa), generated market reports and regulatory requirements updates, and worked on projects in the medical equipment, mining, gas and oil, and electric mobility sectors. Before moving to Chile, he was a global commodity broker (precious metals, urea, manganese, soy and coffee beans) based in Portland, Oregon. Karl is tri-lingual (English, Spanish, and Portuguese).

Tammy Deets – Clean Technology, Advanced Manufacturing & Maritime Manager

Tammy has a broad range of experience in the private and public sectors and brings her strong business development, marketing and sales experience as well as her knowledge of the clean tech, advanced manufacturing, forest products, and maritime industry sectors to the team. Tammy’s experience includes starting up an international business firm in Hong Kong to co-founding a non-profit organization promoting clean energy in Washington State. Throughout her career Tammy worked with entrepreneurs, C-Suite executives, elected officials and civic leaders. As a member of OEDC’s Business Development Unit, Tammy was involved in business recruitment, expansion and retention throughout the state. Tammy will now have the opportunity to assist small businesses enter and expand into foreign markets and leverage the strong connections she developed with ADOS, trade organizations and global businesses.

Julie Monahan Information & Communication Technology Development Manager

Julie has spent a career supporting the growth and success of small businesses. As a business journalist, Julie covered the banking and technology industry, interviewed Fortune 500 CEOs, and was a long-time contributor to Entrepreneur magazine, the leading publication devoted to small business development. Her commitment to entrepreneurship now spurs her work to connect Washington State tech companies with global opportunities at international trade shows and with inbound trade and business delegations from around the world. Julie was part of the original team that launched the U.S. Small Business Administration’s STEP program in Washington State in 2011, with responsibility for outreach and communications and the Export Voucher program.

Rural, Small Business & Marketing Programs

Robb Zerr – Managing Director

A Washington native, Robb has been a communications and marketing professional and business consultant since 1981, working with a prestigious roster of national and international clients in technology, healthcare, retail, consulting, education, tourism and manufacturing. An award-winning writer and consultant, he has worked extensively in the areas of strategic communication planning, branding, marketing, storytelling, social media, copywriting, web design and crisis management. He has also worked closely with entrepreneurs, startups and small businesses all over the world and started several successful enterprises of his own. In his spare time, Robb is a tortured novelist, professional entertainer and a wishful world traveler, deciding at one time to visit an entire alphabet of islands (having made it to A, B, C, F, G, H, I, J, K, L, M, N, O, P, R, S, T, V and W so far). He graduated from the University of Washington with a BA in journalism. Before joining the Department of Commerce, he served as Mister Know-It-All at CommuniCreations and CEO of Storylaureate.com.

Lynn Fetch, Regulatory Roadmap Program Manager

Lynn has worked for state government since 2009, and came to the Department of Commerce at the end of 2016 from the Liquor and Cannabis Board where she supervised a statewide Federal Inspection Tobacco Enforcement team for the Food and Drug Administration. Lynn serves as Program Manager for the Regulatory Roadmap project, an effort geared towards streamlining access to regulatory requirements within different business sectors. Prior to state government, she worked a variety of jobs in the private sector spanning across the hospitality and real estate industries. Lynn has an extensive background managing operations for program and project launches, supervising teams, developing work plans and identifying strategic direction, tracking budgets and contracts, and earned her MBA from Western Governors University.

Alex Harper – Brand & Creative Manager

Alex directs all the digital communications for the Choose Washington brand, including serving as webmaster for several Commerce websites. Before joining our team, Alex served as Advertising Creative Manager for McClatchy Company, overseeing creative and branding standards, managing the creative team and working with internal and external clients on an array of award-winning projects. He has extensive experience managing complex campaigns as well as maximizing the effectiveness of digital assets, including website design, construction and management, information design and analytics. Alex is also a whiz in the graphics department, serving as the go-to guy for ongoing design projects related to the brand. In his spare time, he likes to have his four dogs take him for a walk and engage in amazing creative pursuits that dazzle and mystify his coworkers.

Andrea Rohr – Design & Production Manager

As Design & Production Manager for the team, Andrea helps create effective digital and print media to further the presence of the clients of the Choose Washington brand. Andrea first got a taste for graphic design when she entered a contest in high school to design the official Carnation, Washington Fourth of July T-shirt and was selected as one of the winners. She went on to graduate from the University of Washington with a BA in sociology. With her passion for design still present, she earned two continuing education certifications, one in web design and the other in interaction design. She loves to blend her sociological knowledge of human behavior with her design experience to help brand local companies in creating a unique voice that speaks to their clientele. Andrea is an avid baker and can often be seen running around Lake Union.

Lynn Longan – Economic Development Manager

Born and raised in rural Washington State, Lynn’s introduction to economic development was in family-owned and operated businesses such as logging, road construction, tree farming and shellfish farming. Lynn brings 20 years of economic development experience to our team. After working for the Department of Commerce in the Economic Development Division for 16 years, she accepted the role of Executive Director of the Economic Development Council in Mason County. Returning to Commerce, Lynn serves as the agency expert responsible for setting the agenda for the state’s economic development strategies for rural and underserved communities. She is responsible for developing and overseeing entrepreneurship programs such as ScaleUp, Thrive!, Global Entrepreneurship Month and other technical assistance, education and training programs and services for entrepreneurs and small businesses, particularly those in rural and underserved communities.

Tracy Gunter, Retirement Marketplace Program Manager

Tracy is the Program Manager of the Retirement Marketplace, an online portal that empowers businesses and individuals to comparison-shop for low-cost, easy-to-use private retirement plans. She works closely with stakeholders, leads outreach and marketing efforts, works closely with plan providers, and manages and oversees the website. Tracy earned her B.A. in Sociology and Psychology from Hamline University and has more than 20 years of experience working in the aging and long-term care system. Managing a variety of programs over her tenure, her passion for people is pervasive and her work has given her a particularly keen insight into the issues of aging and the importance of planning ahead. When not at work, you’ll find her outside enjoying all of the natural beauty the Pacific Northwest has to offer.

Susan Joseph Nielsen – Small Business Program, Manager, Eastern Washington

Susan has been a regional and statewide community and business leader more than 25 years. Before joining Commerce, she served as the Regional Executive Director of the College Success Foundation in Eastern Washington and owner/principal of Strategic Niche, a strategic consulting company that worked on a wide range of projects, from mergers and acquisitions to economic development. During her career, she has led significant public and private projects for high profile organizations and businesses and served as a volunteer leader and community advocate on numerous boards, committees and councils. In her role with Commerce, Susan works with rural and underserved communities to grow local economies and create living wage jobs, including providing training and technical assistance to entrepreneurs and start-ups. Susan earned her Master of Science in Interdisciplinary Studies from Eastern Washington University, with a dual emphasis in Public Administration and Business Administration. She received her accreditation in Public Relations from the Public Relations Society of America (APR), is Economic Gardening® Certified (EGc) through the National Center for Economic Gardening, and is a former freelance journalist and talk show host. For fun and leisure, Susan enjoys reading, walking, biking, RV camping, fishing, boating and traveling.

Sector Leads

Joshua Berger – Director of Economic Development for the Maritime Sector

Before joining the Department of Commerce in 2015 as the Director of Economic Development for the Maritime Sector, Joshua served as Coordinator of the Washington Maritime Federation and brings extensive maritime industry experience to his position. During his career, he has developed a successful record of leadership in a number of positions including: Maritime Sector Business Development Manager for the Economic Development Council of Seattle and King County; Program Director and Marine Operations Manager at The Evergreen State College; and E3 Regional and Network Coordinator for the Environmental Education Association of Washington. Joshua is also a professional Merchant Mariner having worked in the towing industry and spent six years as captain, sail trainer and environmental educator with Sound Experience, aboard the schooner Adventuress.

Brian Hatfield – Director of Economic Development for the Forest Products Sector

As a product of Washington’s timber country himself, Brian Hatfield’s passionate support for rural economic development and the defense of our state’s natural resources industries stood out during his 26 years of service, in and around the State Legislature. Brian first worked as an assistant to State Senators Arlie DeJarnatt and Sid Snyder, before being elected to the House of Representatives from southwest Washington’s 19th Legislative District in 1994. He served in the House for 10 years, before joining the staff of Lieutenant Governor Brad Owen in 2004. In 2006, Brian became State Senator and, for most of his tenure, chaired the Agriculture, Water & Rural Economic Development Committee. Brian also represented the Senate Democratic Caucus on the Lt. Governor’s Legislative Committee on Economic Development and International Relations; and the Community Economic Revitalization Board, run by the Washington State Department of Commerce. Brian is a graduate of Washington State University, with a degree in Public Administration.

Steven Maheshwary – Director of Economic Development for the Information & Communication Technology Sector

Steven is a tech veteran who is passionate about the nexus of the tech sector and positive social impact through building partnerships, fostering entrepreneurship and empowering communities. Prior to joining the Department of Commerce, Steven was the Programs Lead for the Underserved Populations team at Amazon, focusing on building products and services for low-income customers and underserved communities. In 2017, Steven was appointed by the Mayor of Seattle to serve on the Community Technology Advisory Board (created to advise the Mayor and City Council on all issues relating to technology and information) and was its chair in 2019. He also serves on the Board of Directors for DemocracyLab, a nonprofit that provides a platform to connect skilled tech volunteers with tech for good projects sourced from the community. In the past, Steven started his own language learning company in college, receiving the Harvard i3 Innovation Challenge and Leadership in Commercial Enterprise awards. In 2016, he served as a Fulbright Scholar in Malaysia, teaching English and social entrepreneurship, and self-published an anthology of his students’ personal narratives. Steven has a decade of experience in tech, having worked in program ownership, partnerships, finance and marketing roles across Amazon, Microsoft, and several startups, notably launching new businesses as a go-to-market lead. Steven originally hails from Houston, Texas and graduated from Harvard University with a concentration in Sociology and a secondary in Economics.

Julia Terlinchamp – Director of Economic Development for the Life Science/Global Health Sector

Before joining Commerce, Julia worked as Gov. Inslee’s Northwest Regional Representative, serving Snohomish, Skagit, Whatcom, Island and San Juan counties. While working for the Governor, she focused on stakeholder engagement and coalition building. Prior to that position, she worked in the Bothell Office as Congressional Liaison to Rep. Suzan DelBene of Washington State’s 1st Congressional District. She also worked in Washington, DC both on and off the hill. She has a Masters of Public Administration with a concentration in Public and Economic Policy from London School of Economics and Political Science and a B.A. in International Studies from Pitzer College. She was a Fulbright Scholar to Bulgaria where she focused on the sociopolitical implications of Bulgaria’s nuclear energy sector while they prepared for EU accession.

Robin Toth – Director of Economic Development for the Aerospace Sector

Prior to joining the Department of Commerce in 2018 as the Director of Economic Development for the Aerospace Sector, Robin was the Vice President, Business Development, for Greater Spokane Inc., Spokane County’s Associate Development Organization. During her thirteen plus years with GSI, Robin worked with more than 100 companies that selected the Spokane region for their corporate relocation or expansion projects. These projects created an economic impact of more than $1 billion to the area, and the companies created almost 10,000 jobs. She also served the City of Spokane as a project manager, working on the Spokane University District formation and an award-winning EPA brownfields cleanup of a former railroad site.  Robin’s experience also included positions as the marketing and communications director for information technology companies like Ciena, Alcatel and Itron.

Brian Young – Director of Economic Development for the Clean Technology Sector

Brian Young brings diverse strategic and operational experience to his role as Governor Inslee’s Clean Technology Sector Lead. He is the point of contact for clean technology companies who want to navigate Washington State’s political and economic landscape. He is focused on developing a prosperous and varied clean tech sector based on the state’s existing strengths. Prior to joining the Department of Commerce, Brian worked in a variety of clean tech industries. After serving as an officer in the United States Navy, he joined an early stage biofuel start-up that grew into Imperium Renewables, the largest independent biodiesel producer in the U.S. After Imperium, Brian created Element Strategic Partners, a clean tech consultancy that led the development of the Washington Clean Energy Leadership Council and worked internationally on sustainability and carbon issues. In 2011, he became a business development manager for a Tri-Cities engineering firm working on nuclear remediation efforts at Hanford and elsewhere within the Department of Energy complex. Brian graduated from Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service with a degree in Science, Technology, and International Affairs. In the winter, you can find him on the slopes at Alpental, where he is a member of the Volunteer Ski Patrol.

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