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Executive Team

 

Brian Bonlender

Director
  

Dan McConnon

Deputy Director

  

Nick Demerice

Director, External Relations

 

Diane Klontz

Assistant Director, Community Services and Housing Division
 

Kendee Yamaguchi

Assistant Director, Local Government & Infrastructure Division
  

Connie Robins

Assistant Director, Administrative Services 
 

Penny Thomas

Director, Communications   

  

Mary Trimarco

Assistant Director, Business Services Division
 

  
 

Brian Bonlender

Director 
 
Brian Bonlender was appointed by Governor Jay Inslee as Director of the Department of Commerce in January 2013. 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 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 his new post, including as a regulatory compliance consultant for industries across the state and as an advisor to a clean tech startup.
 
He has a Bachelor of Science degree from Washington State University. Brian lives in Seattle with his wife and two children.
   
 
 
  
Deputy Director
 
Dan McConnon joined Commerce in 2008 and currently serves as deputy director for the agency. He acts as Commerce’s chief operating officer, overseeing the internal operations of the organization. Dan also serves as the agency’s lead for community services and housing, with a focus on policy, strategic initiatives and external relations. He leads Commerce partnerships with community organizations that meet the social and economic needs of Washington’s families, workers, and employers.
 
Dan chairs the Interagency Council on Homelessness, and serves as a commissioner of the Housing Finance Commission and as an ex-officio member of the Affordable Housing Advisory Board. He also serves on the Washington Families Fund Steering Committee, the Building Changes Program Committee, the WorkFirst Subcabinet, and the Justice Assistance Grant Advisory Committee.
 
Prior to Commerce, Dan spent more than 20 years in higher education dedicated to supporting access to education in order to provide individuals with skills to obtain living wage jobs.
 
Dan completed his coursework for a doctorate in educational leadership at Gonzaga University, has an MBA from Nova University, and a bachelor's degree in business administration from Eastern Oregon State College.
 
 
 
Director, External Relations
 
Nick joined the department in 2006 and has served a number of roles throughout the department. Nick Demerice currently serves as the Director of External Relations for the Department of Commerce. In this capacity he is responsible for departmental communications, policy development, research and governmental 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. 
 
 
 

 

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, giving her more than 19 years of experience working for the state of Washington. Diane provides leadership for Commerce’s strategic initiatives to address the needs of vulnerable and low-income populations in communities throughout the state.
 
Diane has experience working with communities in Washington in a variety of capacities, including employment and training, affordable housing, crime victim services, investment in community facilities, and programs serving low-income, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), and incarcerated and paroled populations. 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 of Arts in psychology from Washington State University. She serves on the Governor’s Family Violence Advisory Committee, is on the Board of Directors for the Washington Community Reinvestment Association, serves on the Governor's Interagency Council on Health Disparities, is the Vice Chair of the Adult Education Advisory Council, is active with the National Transitional Jobs Network, and is a certified trainer with the Criminal Justice Training Commission in Washington State. She is the recipient of the 2013 Governor’s Award for Leadership in Management.
 
 
 
  
 

Kendee Yamaguchi

Assistant Director, Local Government & Infrastructure Division
 
 Kendee Yamaguchi serves on the executive management team for the Washington State Department of Commerce. She is the Assistant Director of Local Government and Infrastructure and serves as the Executive Director to both the Community Economic Revitalization Board and the Public Works Board. Yamaguchi works with over 600 units of local government and manages a wide range of programs.
 
Prior to this position, she was a member of the senior leadership team at the Washington State Office of the Attorney General. Previously, she was a Small Agency Cabinet Member for the Governor and a director in the Office of Management and Administration at the White House. She has experience working as a television executive, a staff member in the Legislature and an attorney in private practice.
 
Yamaguchi earned her B.A. in political science and public communications from American University and a J.D. from the Seattle University School of Law.
 
 
  

 

Connie Robins

Assistant Director, Administrative Services
 

Connie Robins joined the Department of Commerce in May 2012 and serves as the Assistant Director for the Administrative Services Division. Connie is a Certified Public Accountant and brings experience from her work in a private CPA firm as well as in both state and local government. In her current role Connie is responsible for Administrative Services for Commerce, including Budget and Finance, Human Resources, Information Technology, Contracts Administration, Office Services, and Facilities.
 
Connie worked in a regional CPA firm for five years before joining the State Auditor’s Office in 1989. In this role she worked with both state and local governments, served on national peer review teams, was appointed to the AICPA Governmental Accounting and Auditing Committee and spoke at national AICPA conferences. Connie then served at the Chief Administrative Officer for Lewis County for five years before returning to state government as the Deputy Director for the Health Care Authority. Most recently she was the Assistant Director for the Management Services Division at the Consolidated Technology Services Agency and served on the state’s collective bargaining team for the past six years.
 
Connie lives in the small town of Toledo with her husband, children and grandchildren. She enjoys riding her horses and gardening.

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Director, Communications
 
Penny joined the department in 2007 and played a key role in the Commerce Connections outreach initiative that helped shape agency priorities and position the new Department of Commerce for transition in 2009.
As Communications Director, Penny oversees external communications programs and activities at Commerce and also works closely with the governor’s press office in support of the state’s community and economic development priorities.
Before entering public service, Penny navigated a successful private sector career path starting in community journalism and branching into consumer and B2B advertising, public relations and corporate communications leadership roles. She’s an award-winning writer, creative director, advertising copywriter and corporate communications professional. Her diverse industry experience includes food, retail, healthcare, and information and communication technology and network services.

Penny has a bachelor’s degree in international and intercultural communications from the University of Washington. She’s a native Washingtonian and loyal Seattle Mariners fan living in the South Sound with her husband, two golden retrievers and the house cat.
  
 
 
  

Mary Trimarco

Assistant Director, Business Services Division
 
Mary Trimarco was appointed by Commerce Director Brian Bonlender in May of 2013 as Assistant Director of the Business Services Division managing the State’s international trade, investment attraction, marketing, and business loan programs. Mary has been with Commerce since 2008 managing business development efforts across the state and overseeing Strategic Reserve Funds, Governor’s Workforce Investment Act Funds, State Small Business Credit Initiative and the Innovation Partnership Zones.
 
Mary is from Illinois, a graduate of the University of Illinois with a BS in finance, and her career led her to Minneapolis, New York, the D.C./Baltimore area, Asheville, NC, and now Seattle, Washington. Mary's professional career began in banking including working for Chemical Bank in New York, and then she went into film and TV, producing TV commercials in New York and Washington DC.
 
 Mary lives in Seattle with her husband and two sons.


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