Brian Bonlender was appointed director 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, Brian served as Inslee’s chief-of-staff and legislative director, running the congressman’s office and acting as his primary advisor on economic issues. Brian 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-sector 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.
Visit Brian’s Director’s Update blog.