Lisa Brown


Lisa Brown, Commerce DirectorLisa J. Brown, Ph.D., was appointed Commerce director by Gov. Inslee and began serving the agency in February of 2019.

Prior to serving as Commerce director, she served as chancellor of Washington State University, where she led the health science campus in Spokane.

Lisa served in the Washington State Legislature from 1996 – 2013 in the Senate where she was majority leader and chaired the Rules Committee, Ways and Means Committee, and Energy, Technology and Telecommunications Committee. She served in the state House of Representatives from 1993 – 1996, where she was minority whip and minority floor leader.

She has worked extensively on economic development across the state.

Prior to state office, she was an associate professor of economics at Eastern Washington University and an associate professor of leadership at Gonzaga University.

Lisa earned her bachelor’s degree in economics at the University of Illinois and her master’s and doctoral degrees in economics from the University of Colorado in Boulder.

Connie Robins

Deputy Director

robins1Connie Robins joined the Department of Commerce in May 2012 and serves as Deputy Director. She has a background in finance, 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 of 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

barkley1Mark has been with the Department of Commerce since 2013 and currently serves as assistant director for the Local Government Division. Mark’s responsibilities include coordinating with the Public Works Board and Community and Economic Revitalization Board (CERB) He also oversees Community Development Block Grants, Drinking Water State Revolving Fund, Brownfields Revolving Loan Fund and Growth Management Services. He has over 20 years of experience working with both state and federal contracts. After serving 25 years in the U.S. 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.

Michael Furze

Assistant Director, Energy Division

furze1Michael 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 earned his master’s degree in community and regional planning from the University of New Mexico.

Chris Green

Assistant Director, Office of Economic Development and Competitiveness

green1Chris 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 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 earned his 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.

Diane Klontz

Assistant Director, Community Services and Housing Division

klontz1Diane joined the Department of Commerce in 2001 and currently serves as assistant director for the Community Services and Housing Division. She began state service 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 her 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.

Cheryl Smith

Policy and Planning Director

Cheryl SmithCheryl Smith leads the agency’s Policy and Planning Team, responsible for supporting policy development throughout the agency, enterprise initiatives, tribal and diverse community relations, new projects and ideas, legislative support and strategic planning. 

Cheryl joined Commerce’s Director’s Office in 2008 and has been a long-time public servant working in leadership positions in state and local government, with a track record of leading innovative and collaborative efforts to address challenging problems and potential opportunities.

Cheryl values working with the talented people at Commerce, and with our committed stakeholder communities, to support thriving communities and families across the state.  She earned a Master of Public Administration, undergraduate degrees in political science and social sciences, and several certifications in coaching and considers herself a lifelong learner. 

Martin McMurry

Chief Financial Officer, Administrative Services

Martin McMurryMartin joined Commerce in 2015 and leads the Administrative Services Division, which includes accounting, budget, contracts, human resources, information technology and office services. Martin began his state career in 2001 in a temporary job delivering computer hardware to rural health clinics for the Department of Health. He has since worked in various policy and budget positions for the state, to include working for Commerce in the Housing Trust Fund while completing his master’s degree in public administration from the Evergreen State College. Prior to joining Commerce, Martin most recently was a management analyst and eventually a budget manager for the Employment Security Department. Martin holds bachelor’s degree from Central Washington University and lives in the Olympia area with his wife Shelly and their two children.

Barbara Dunn

Director, Communications

dunn1Barbara joined the Department of Commerce in 2015 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 earned her bachelor’s degree in English-Journalism from the University of Louisiana-Lafayette and worked as editor of several daily newspapers. She moved to Olympia in 1984 and began her public service with the state departments of Labor and Industries; Community, Trade and Economic Development (now Commerce); and at the Washington Higher Education Coordinating Board. She was deputy communications director for Washington Governors Mike Lowry and Gary Locke.

Jasmine Vasavada

Legislative Director

Legislative Director Jasmine VasavadaJasmine Vasavada joined Commerce in 2016 as a senior energy policy specialist and began working as Commerce’s legislative director in 2018. She earned a Juris Doctorate from the University of Washington and a bachelor of science degree from Harvard University. That background in science helped when she began working on state-level issues related to toxics in New Jersey. It carried forward to her work at the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History, where Jasmine recruited and trained a team of 60 volunteer naturalists to teach children how to observe ocean life at a new hands-on marine sciences facility. While studying law at the University of Washington, Jasmine focused on state-level policy and spent several months in Olympia with the Attorney General’s Office and the Office of Program Research, the nonpartisan committee staff in the Washington State House of Representatives.