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Skip Navigation LinksDepartment of Commerce / About Commerce / Executive Team

Executive Team

 

Brian Bonlender

Director  

Connie Robins

Deputy Director
  

Mark Barkley

Assistant Director, Local Government Division
  

Nick Demerice

Assistant Director, External Relations Division
 

Michael Furze

Assistant Director, Energy Division
 

Chris Green

Assistant Director, Office of Economic Development and Competitiveness
 

Diane Klontz

Assistant Director, Community Services and Housing Division
 

Kendrick Stewart

Assistant Director, Administrative Services
  
Director, Communications
 

 
  
 

Brian Bonlender

Director 
 
Brian Bonlender was appointed Director of the Department of Commerce by Governor Jay Inslee in January 2013. Under his leadership, the department has revitalized and increased the state's economic development capabilities, expanded and linked its economic and community development programs, implemented a metrics-driven performance system and refocused around the shared purpose of strengthening communities.
 
A Yakima native, Bonlender served as Inslee’s chief-of-staff and legislative director, running the congressman’s office and acting as his primary advisor on economic issues.
 
Bonlender has worked on legislation and policy in a range of industries, including agriculture, life sciences, information technology, aerospace, maritime and clean energy. He brings nearly 20 years of public and private experience to the post, including working for a non-profit organization, volunteering overseas, and consulting for industries across the state on regulatory compliance.
 
He has a Bachelor of Science degree from Washington State University. Brian lives in Seattle with his wife and two children.
 
 
 
 
  
Deputy Director
 
Connie Robins joined the Department of Commerce in May 2012 and currently serves as Deputy Director. She has a finance background and experience as a CPA in a regional firm, and has worked with state and local governments as a regional audit manager with the state Auditor’s Office. Among her other duties at Commerce, Connie is responsible for Lean Performance Management.

Connie has held leadership positions in both state and local governments, including Assistant Director of Administrative Services at Commerce and for the Department of Consolidated Technology Services, Chief Administrative Officer at Lewis County, and Deputy Director at the Health Care Authority.

Connie lives in the small town of Toledo with her husband, children and grandchildren. 
 
 
 

Mark Barkley

Assistant Director, Local Government Division
  
Mark has been with the Department of Commerce  since 2013 and currently serves as Assistant Director for the Local Government Division. Mark’s responsibilities includes coordinating with the Public Works Board and Community and Economic Revitalization Board (CERB), as well as oversight for Community Development Block Grants, Drinking Water State Revolving Fund, Brownfields, and Growth Management Services. He has over 20 years of experience working with both state and federal contracts. 
 
After serving 25 years in the Army, Mark worked for two years at the Department of Transportation before coming to Commerce. He has a bachelor’s degree in economics from Seattle University and a master’s degree in public administration from Central Michigan University.  Mark lives in Rainier with his wife and children.
 
 
 
Assistant Director, External Relations Division
 
Nick joined the Department of Commerce in 2006, serving in a number of roles throughout the department. He currently serves as the Assistant Director for the External Relations Division. In this capacity he is responsible for department communications, policy development, research and government affairs. Prior to entering state service, Nick worked in non-profit management for a member of Congress and a former governor. 
 
Nick holds a bachelor's degree from the University of Washington in political science and lives in the Olympia area with his family.


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Michael Furze

Assistant Director, Energy Division
 
Michael Furze joined the Department of Commerce in 2014 and is Assistant Director for the Energy Division, which includes policy, initiatives, energy emergency management and the Weatherization Program. Michael joined the weatherization network in 2009, drawn by the convergence of social justice and environmental sustainability.
 
After working for five years in New Mexico Energy$mart Program, he transitioned to Washington’s Weatherization Program in 2014 and has been actively involved in the weatherization network’s Weatherization Advisory Committee. Michael holds a master’s degree in Community and Regional Planning from the University of New Mexico.

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Chris Green

Assistant Director, Office of Economic Development and Competitiveness
 
Chris Green joined the Department of Commerce in 2015 as Assistant Director for the Office of Economic Development and Competitiveness, which includes the International Trade, Business Recruitment/Retention and Rural Economic Development units.
 
Chris previously served for seven years as Vice President for Business Retention and Expansion at the Economic Development Board for Tacoma-Pierce County.
Prior to that, he worked in government relations and was also on the staff of several elected officials, including former U.S. Congressman Norm Dicks, Seattle Mayor Ed Murray and U.S. Congressman Derek Kilmer.

Chris holds a bachelor's degree in Political Science from Pacific Lutheran University and an MBA from the University of Washington. He and his wife Shannon live in Tacoma with their three children.

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Diane Klontz

Assistant Director, Community Services and Housing Division

Diane Klontz joined the Department of Commerce in 2001 and currently serves as Assistant Director for the Community Services and Housing Division. She began state services in 1994. Diane provides leadership for Commerce’s strategic initiatives to address the needs of vulnerable and low-income populations in communities throughout the state.
 
Her background includes a strong and successful history in program administration and working collaboratively with staff, community partners, individuals and families across the state.
 
Diane received a bachelor's degree in psychology from Washington State University. She serves as the Governor’s appointee on Serve Washington, is on the Board of Directors for the Washington Community Reinvestment Association, serves on the Governor's Interagency Council on Health Disparities, and is the Chair of the Adult Education Advisory Council. She is the recipient of the 2013 Governor’s Award for Leadership in Management.

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Kendrick Stewart

Assistant Director, Administrative Services Division

Kendrick Stewart joined Commerce in 2015 as Assistant Director for the Administrative Services Division. In this capacity, he is responsible for budget, finance, human resources, information services, contracts and office services. Kendrick was most recently a regional administrator for the Department of Social and Health Services Community Services Division. He comes to his current role with 17 years of experience with three state agencies (Employment Security Department being the third).
 
Kendrick is a Louisiana native who was raised in Denver and has two children. He holds a master's degree in Executive Public Administration from the University of Washington and lives in King County. He enjoys playing basketball, hiking, reading and enjoying the beauty of the Pacific Northwest.

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Director, Communications

Barbara Dunn joined the Department of Commerce in 2016 as Director of Communications. Previously she was Regional Director of Communications for Sutter Health, a large not-for-profit health care system in Northern California. Prior to that she was Director of Corporate Communications for Vidant Health, a not-for-profit health care system with 12,000 employees in Greenville, N.C.
 
Barbara began her career in public service, working at the state departments of Labor and Industries,  and Community, Trade and Economic Development (now Commerce), and at the  Washington Higher Education Coordinating Board. She was Deputy Communications Director for two governors: Mike Lowry  and Gary Locke.
 
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