Ports veteran brings powerful record of public and private sector accomplishments to new post in state’s Office of Economic Development and Competitiveness
OLYMPIA, WA – Governor Jay Inslee today welcomed Stephen Sewell to the Department of Commerce as economic development director for the state’s maritime industry sector. He introduced Sewell while participating in a roundtable at Crowley Maritime and tour of the Harbor Island Training Center at Vigor Industries late this afternoon, along with Commerce Director Brian Bonlender and other officials.
Sewell is a founding executive and Senior Vice President at LoadStar, a subsidiary of the world’s largest port operator, Hutchison Port Holdings.
“I’m enthusiastic about being in a position to help address some of the big issues facing our state – education, jobs and transportation. Positive change in all of these areas is possible through the growth and health of the maritime industry,” Sewell said.
“Steve Sewell is a dynamic and well-respected leader who has developed strong local, national and international relationships over more than 25 years in the maritime industry. He will be an outstanding asset in our efforts to expand our working waterfront as a job creation engine for Washington’s economy,” Governor Inslee said.
“Washington has one of the most vibrant maritime sectors in the country, producing some of the best family-wage jobs in the region, but its importance to our economy is often overlooked or taken for granted,” Commerce Director Brian Bonlender said. “Modeled after the state’s Office of Aerospace, this position will help drive policies important to the continued growth of the maritime sector.”
Sector-focused economic development is the first pillar of the state’s job creation strategy, Bonlender said.
Sewell’s appointment is part of a plan to recruit leads for as many as eight industry sectors: aerospace, advanced manufacturing, agriculture, clean technology, information and communications technology, life sciences, maritime and military. Commerce is working closely with stakeholder groups in the various industries to recruit leaders with strong private sector experience, but also unique depth working successfully with public sector entities.
Sewell has served in senior leadership roles at the Port of Seattle, including Managing Director of the Seaport Division, Corporate Secretary and General Counsel.
Commerce is the lead state agency charged with enhancing and promoting sustainable community and economic vitality in Washington. For more information, visit www.commerce.wa.gov. For information on locating or expanding a business in Washington, visit www.choosewashington.com.