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Economic Development Commission

Economic Development Commission

About the Economic Development Commission

The Economic Development Commission (the Commission) was created by the Mayor and the Seattle City Council in 2013 to examine Seattle’s ability to compete in the global economy of the 21st century.  Members of the Commission represent a cross section of business, industry and higher education to advise the Mayor and City Council on the development of plans, policies, regulations, and strategies that have substantial impact on creating and maintaining an innovative economy that is resilient, sustainable, and equitable.

The Commission is comprised of 15 members, and all commissioners serve a one-year term.

View a short video that gives an overview of the vision of the Economic Development Commission:

Read the Executive Summary of the Commission's Inaugural Year Report (April 2014)

Read the full Inaugural Year Report (April 2014)

Mission and Initial Charge of the Commission

The ultimate goal of this body is to help the City of Seattle develop and advance a vision for Seattle’s economic development that nurtures a policy and regulatory environment that encourages innovation and supports business formation and growth, retention, and expansion.

The Commission will examine existing economic development strategies developed by the city and regional partners, seek additional information if necessary, and examine Seattle’s ability to compete in the global economy of the 21st century in terms of innovation, human capital, regulatory process improvement and measuring success.

The initial charge of the Commission will be to produce and present a report to the Executive and the Council outlining findings and measures that could be implemented to support business innovation and prepare our workforce to meet the needs of our economy. Recommendations shall address, but not be limited to:

  1. Support for innovation: Seattle possesses rich concentrations of knowledge in a number of key economic sectors that provide a strong foundation for new ideas and growth.
  2. Development of a skilled and excellent workforce: Our residents deserve an opportunity to achieve their full potential and increase the required skills to meet the needs of our economy and share in our prosperity.
  3. Regulatory process improvement: The City can play an important role in helping businesses thrive and grow by removing unnecessary hurdles.
  4. Establishment of economic benchmarks: The City will stay focused and make necessary course corrections by measuring and reporting on our progress.


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Maud Daudon,
President & CEO, Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce

Daudon was appointed Chamber president & CEO in June 2012. Daudon is a former deputy mayor and chief of staff for Mayor Paul Schell, former chief financial officer for the Port of Seattle, and most recently as President and CEO of Seattle-Northwest Securities Corporation. She has a Master of Public and Private Management (M.P.P.M.) with emphasis on finance and economic development from the Yale School of Organization and Management and a B.A. from Hampshire College.

Chris DeVore,
Partner, Founders Co-op and TechStars, Seattle

Chris DeVore is a founder and General Partner at Founders’ Co-op, the Pacific Northwest's leading seed-stage venture capital fund, and also a Director of TechStars Seattle, the region's top startup accelerator. Previously a co-founder of Adjacency (acquired by Sapient, NASDAQ: SAPE) and Judy's Book (backed by Mobius VC and Ignition Partners), Chris also created outdoor retailer Patagonia's online retailing channel and led product and business strategy teams at AT&T and McCaw Cellular Communications.  Chris holds a BA from Yale and attended the MBA program at Stanford’s Graduate School of Business.  He is a fifth-generation Seattle native and lives in Wallingford with his wife, Emily, and two children.

David Freiboth,
Executive Secretary Treasurer, King County Central Labor Council in Seattle; Vice President, Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO

David Freiboth currently serves on the governing boards of United Way of King County, Workforce Development Council of Seattle - King County, Economic Development Council of King County, Seattle’s Convention and Visitors Bureau (advisory member), the Committee to End Homelessness - King County, Puget Sound Labor Agency and is a Visiting Committee member of the Harry Bridges Center for Labor Studies at the University of Washington. By trade Freiboth is an Able Seaman in the U.S Merchant Marine who, prior to service with his union, worked as a deckhand on the Washington State Ferries.  A Kitsap County native, Freiboth is a third generation Washingtonian who completed his BA in Labor History at the National Labor College in Silver Spring, Maryland in 2012.

Christine Hanna,
Co-Founder, Co-Director, Seattle Good Business Network

Hanna founded the non-profit Seattle Good Business Network in 2010, a growing coalition of over 300 local businesses and residents building a sustainable, self-reliant local economy by buying, producing, and investing locally.  Prior to Seattle Good Business Network, Hanna was Managing Director of the sustainability think tank Sightline Institute, and a principal in several Internet companies.  Hanna holds an MBA from the University of Washington, and is a Local Economy Fellow with the national Business Alliance for Local Living Economies (BALLE).

Tanya Jimale,
President and CEO, JTS

Tanya Jimale has owned and operated Jimale Technical Services, a construction management and project controls company, since 1993.  She has served as Executive Director for the City of Seattle’s Central Area Public Development Authority, including providing assistance for developments at Mt. Zion Baptist Church and other Hope II projects. Jimale was the first African-American women to graduate from the University of Washington’s School of Civil Engineering. She holds an MPA from Seattle University and an Executive Management Certificate from Dartmouth College.

Rob Mohn,
President, RAM Columbia, LLC

Mohn is the owner and operator of a Columbia City lodging business and president of RAM Columbia LLC, a community development company specializing in adaptive re-use and infill development.  He was a founding director of the Rainier Valley Community Development Fund, serves on the board of the Columbia City Business Improvement Area, and actively participates in the Columbia City Business Association.  He holds a Master of Public Affairs degree from Princeton University and a BS in Engineering from the US Military Academy at West Point.

Alan Nay,
Founder, World Famous

World Famous Co-Founder Alan Nay is a modern day renaissance man.  As a father, experimental musician, creative director, as well one of the two live action directors at World Famous, Alan finds his passion in collaborating with smart people to create something unexpected and unique. His career as an editor and designer offers an unusual perspective in his role as a live action director. His most recognizable talent though is that of office jokester, always keeping his staff motivated and laughing. Recently, with Alan’s direction, World Famous won the prestigious ADDY Awards, including Best of Show in both Washington and Utah. The company was also awarded Seattle’s “Best Places to Work” by Seattle Metropolitan Magazine and the Puget Sound Business Journal. Alan was also on the Film and Music Advisory Board, helping the city develop new lines of revenue in the commercial sector.

Charissa Raynor,
President, Executive Director, SEIU Healthcare NW Training Partnership and Health Benefits Trust

Charissa Raynor is Executive Director of the SEIU Healthcare NW Training Partnership and Health Benefits Trust – two nonprofits at the forefront of building a qualified, committed home care workforce both in Washington state and nationwide. As a nonprofit school, the Training Partnership is the nation’s largest home care aide training and workforce development provider – training more than 40,000 home care aides annually. Relatedly, the Health Benefits Trust supports a safe and healthy workforce including smartly designed healthcare coverage for more than 15,000 home care aides. Both organizations are sponsored by a labor management partnership including SEIU, the State of Washington, and private industry. Charissa provides overall leadership and strategic direction building on nearly twenty years of working at the intersection of healthcare and workforce development. Charissa holds a Master's in Health Services Administration from George Washington University and is a Registered Nurse with experience in public health, long-term care, and primary care. She serves on a number of boards and committees including the Washington Health Alliance board of directors, the U.S. Secretary of Labor’s Advisory Committee on Apprenticeship, and the Seattle Economic Commission.

Chris Rivera,
President & CEO, Washington Biotechnology and Biomedical Association (WBBA)

WBBA President since January, 2009, Chris Rivera has developed the organization’s strategic direction to support the growth of life sciences in Washington state, one of Washington state’s largest and fastest growing economic industries. Since 2009, Mr. Rivera has also been appointed to several leadership positions, including; the Governor’s Higher Education Task Force, the Washington Global Health Funding Commission, and currently is the Chairman for the national Council of State Bioscience Associations. Prior to the WBBA, Mr. Rivera spent more than 25 years in numerous leadership roles in the biotechnology industry, including Founder and CEO of Hyperion Therapeutics, as well as SVP at Tercica and Genzyme, amongst other leadership positions in the life science industry. He holds a master’s degree from the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center; a bachelor degree from Northwestern Oklahoma State University; and studied marketing and management at the Albers Graduate School of Business and Economics at Seattle University.

John Schoettler,
Director of Global Real Estate, Amazon

Since joining Amazon in January 2001, John has led the team responsible for Amazon’s global corporate real estate portfolio.  Disciplines within his areas of responsibility include office leasing, asset management and construction management.  Design and construction projects include both urban infill and interior improvements of office complexes throughout a global portfolio of over 10MM sqft spanning 150+ locations in 29 countries.  John also provides management oversight of Amazon’s Global Business Assurance (Corporate Security and Business Continuity and Disaster Preparedness), Global Travel and Global AV Media Services.  A Seattle native who is passionate about his community, John currently serves on the boards of the Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce, the Downtown Seattle Association, and KCTS 9, and has served on the boards of PONCHO, BOMA, NW Industries and the Seattle Architectural Foundation. John graduated from Washington State University with degrees in Business Administration and Hotel and Restaurant Administration with an emphasis in Business and Economics.

Dr. Jill Wakefield,
Chancellor, Seattle Community Colleges

Since becoming Chancellor in 2009, Wakefield has been responsible for leading the largest two-year community college system in the State of Washington, which provides education and training to 51,000 students each year at North, South and Seattle Central Community Colleges, the Seattle Vocational Institute and six specialized training centers.  Wakefield holds an MA from the University of Washington and a doctorate from Seattle University.

Ken Willman,
Chief Legal Officer, Russell Investments

Willman has served as Chief Legal Officer (CLO) since 2008 and is responsible for the global legal, compliance, government and community relations and risk management functions at Russell. Ken is a member of Russell’s Executive Committee and Russell’s Global Council and holds a J.D. from the University of Pennsylvania, B.S., Economics, University of Puget Sound, 1982 and B.A., Politics & Government, University of Puget Sound, 1982.

Tay Yoshitani,
CEO, Port of Seattle

Tay Yoshitani joined the Port of Seattle as its CEO in March 2007. He carries out policies set by the Port Commission and leads the Port’s operating divisions, including the 6th largest container port in the nation, and Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, which welcomed a record 33.2 million passengers in 2012. Under his leadership, the Port has opened a new runway at Sea-Tac Airport, a new Smith Cove cruise-ship terminal, and launched air- and water-quality environmental initiatives. He previously served as deputy executive director of the ports of Los Angeles and Oakland, and was Executive Director of the Maryland Port Administration. He served in the U.S. Army after graduation from West Point. Yoshitani earned his MBA at Harvard Graduate School of Business Administration.

Michael Young,
President, University of Washington

Young is President of the University of Washington, the nation’s top public university (second among all universities) in attracting federal research funding. Prior to his appointment at the UW, he served as President and Distinguished Professor of Law at the University of Utah, and he held academic and administrative positions at the George Washington University Law School and Columbia University. He also has served in numerous government positions, including Deputy Under Secretary for Economic and Agricultural Affairs, and Ambassador for Trade and Environmental Affairs in the Department of State. Young is a graduate of Brigham Young University and Harvard Law School.

Meeting Schedule

The Mayor and City Council officially appointed Commissioners in March, 2013 and the Economic Development Commission has not established a regular meeting schedule. Special meetings of the Commission will be announced as they are scheduled.

Special Meeting: 8th Economic Development Commission Meeting 
Tuesday, September 30th - 1:00 pm – 3:00 pm 
Location: The Nexus Hotel, Cascade Ballroom – 2140 N Northgate Way, Seattle, WA 98133
This meeting is open to the public. Due to space considerations, people interested in observing are encouraged to RSVP by 10 a.m. on Tuesday, September 30th to Michael McVicker at 206-233-3868 or

Special Meeting: 7th Economic Development Commission Meeting
Tuesday, June 24th - 1:00 pm 3:00 pm
Location: Seattle Impact HUB 220 2nd Ave S, Seattle, WA 98104
This meeting is open to the public. Due to space considerations, people interested in observing are encouraged to RSVP by 12 noon on Tuesday, June 24th to Danielle Hursh at 206-733-9254 or Special Meeting: 6th Economic Development Commission Meeting
Monday, April 28th 1:00 pm 3:00 pm
Location: Washington Biotechnology & Biomedical Association 1551 Eastlake Ave E, Suite 300, Seattle, WA 98102 Special Meeting: 5th Economic Development Commission Meeting
Monday, February 24th - 1:00 pm 3:00 pm
Location: Wing Luke Museum of the Asian Pacific American Experience - 719 S King St, Seattle
Special Meeting: 4th Economic Development Commission Meeting
Thursday, November 7th - 1:00 pm 3:00 pm
Location: Seattle Labor Temple - 2800 1st Avenue, Room 208

Special Meeting: 3rd Economic Development Commission Meeting
Thursday, September 5th - 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm
Location: Port of Seattle Pier 69, 2711 Alaskan Way, Room 2D East

Special Meeting: 2nd Economic Development Commission Meeting
Thursday, June 6, 2013
Meeting Materials:

Special Meeting: 1st Economic Development Commission Meeting
Tuesday, April 30, 2013
Meeting Materials:


View Economic Development Data and Resources