Mayor, Council create Economic Development Commission

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City of Seattle

Mayor Mike McGinn
Council President Sally J. Clark      

Mayor, Council create Economic Development Commission
Members will propose strategies for an innovative, sustainable and equitable economy

SEATTLE – Today Mayor Mike McGinn and Council President Sally J. Clark officially announced the formation of the Economic Development Commission (the Commission) to examine Seattle’s ability to compete in the global economy of the 21st century.

"Since I launched the Seattle Jobs Plan in 2010, we’ve been hearing from the people of Seattle who are building our recovery that they need responsive city government, a supportive regulatory environment, investments in infrastructure, and skilled workers," said Mayor Mike McGinn. "I’m looking forward to working with the Commission and the insights and ideas that they will bring to continue to build an innovative economy that is sustainable, that enhances our quality of life, and that helps more people share in our prosperity."

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.

"We live in an amazing place with a startling number of innovators and great talent, and we can’t take any of it for granted," said Sally J. Clark, Council President and chair of the Council’s Committee on Economic Resiliency and Regional Relations. "This Commission will help us focus the City’s role in supporting innovation and talent for shared prosperity."

The Commission is comprised of 15 members, and all commissioners serve a one-year term. The Commission is formally created through Council Ordinance 123786.

"Community leaders initiated the idea to create an economic development commission in 2011 during a series of Council-led forums," said Councilmember Richard Conlin. "The

Commission will greatly assist the City in recommending policy priorities and actions that implement the City’s key principles for economic development; quality of life, hospitable and responsive business climate, resilient and sustainable local economy, collaboration and civic leadership, educated workforce, and adaptive strategies."

The ultimate goal of the Commission 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 University of Washington is deeply interested in training our students to meet and to take advantage of the challenges and opportunities of the future. At the same time, we are fully committed to moving the incredible research done at the University into the market and into our communities where it can improve lives," said Michael Young, president, University of Washington. "For the University to maintain its capacity as an engine for economic stimulation and growth, we need the right environment and partners. The City of Seattle’s Economic Development Commission can support just such an ecosystem, and we are very excited to participate."

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.
"As an entrepreneur and investor in early-stage companies, I know that innovation takes place over long cycles," said Chris DeVore, partner, Founders’ Co-op and TechStars Seattle. "I’m interested in making sure this Commission is thinking about how Seattle can attract the right talent and create the right ecosystem so that the next generation of new, innovative companies will be founded here rather than somewhere else in the world."

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. The Commission will be staffed by the City’s Office of Economic Development.

"As a small business owner of a 17-person construction management and project controls company, our business priority is to hire locally and provide training for this industry," Tanya Jimale, president and CEO of JTS. "I want to bring my insights and employer experience together with the Commission to bring in more job opportunities and transition people in the community into good, solid jobs with livable wages."

The initial 15 Economic Development Commission members are:

  • Maud Daudon, President & CEO, Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce
  • Chris DeVore, Partner, Founders’ Co-op and TechStars Seattle
  • David Freiboth, Executive Secretary Treasurer, King County Central Labor Council  and Vice President, Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO
  • Christine Hanna, Co-Founder/Co-Director, Seattle Good Business Network
  • Tanya Jimale, President and CEO, JTS
  • Rob Mohn, President, RAM Columbia, LLC
  • Alan Nay, Founder, World Famous
  • Sarah Patterson, Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, Virginia Mason Medical Center
  • Michael Rawding, Principal, Deerhorn Advisors
  • Chris Rivera, President, Washington Biotechnology and Biomedical Association
  • Brad Tong, Principal, Shiels, Obletz, Johnsen, Inc
  • Dr. Jill Wakefield, Chancellor, Seattle Community Colleges
  • Ken Willman, Chief Legal Officer, Russell Investments
  • Tay Yoshitani, CEO, Port of Seattle
  • Michael Young, President, University of Washington

Access the Economic Development Commission members’ biographies and more information about the Commission here.
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Seattle Jobs Plan
Mayor Mike McGinn’s vision for next generation economic development that creates a sustainable economy with shared prosperity in Seattle was launched in August 2010. It consists of new and existing policies, programs and investments designed to help create quality jobs, protect the environment, and ensure that taxpayers get true value from the city of Seattle’s public investments. For more information, visit

Seattle City Council
In 2009 the Council passed Resolution 31135 outlining the strategies and actions to help promote economic recovery.  In 2011, the Council passed Resolution 31282 adopting guiding principles, actions and strategies for strengthening and growing Seattle’s economy.  Seattle City Council meetings are cablecast and Webcast live on Seattle Channel 21 and on the City Council’s website. Copies of legislation, Council meeting calendar, and archives of news releases can be found on the City Council website. Follow the Council on Twitter and on Facebook.

City’s Office of Economic Development (OED)

OED supports a healthy business environment and empowers companies to grow and compete, and provides services directly to businesses through advocacy, retention and expansion assistance, and workforce development. Visit to access city services for businesses, and for more information about our office, visit

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