Executive Leadership Team

Director Lisa Brown

Lisa Brown, Director

Lisa Brown, Ph.D., (she/her) was appointed Commerce director by Gov. Jay Inslee and began serving the agency in February 2019. Lisa is a longtime resident of Spokane. Before serving as Commerce director, she worked as chancellor of Washington State University and led the health science campus there, including the creation of the Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine. Lisa represented the Spokane area in the state House from 1993-1996 as minority whip and minority floor leader, breaking ground as a single working mother. She then went on to the state Senate, where she became the first Democratic female majority leader and served until 2013. Lisa is an economist and has taught at Eastern Washington University and Gonzaga University. She earned her bachelor’s degree in economics at the University of Illinois and her master’s and doctoral degrees at the University of Colorado in Boulder. She has worked extensively on efforts to create jobs and support working families across Washington state. Her top two priorities, in no particular order, are an equitable and sustainable economic recovery and her young grandson, Blaze.

Subscribe for Updates from Director Lisa Brown.

Sarah Coggins

Sarah Coggins, Executive Assistant to the Director

Sarah Coggins (she/her/hers) is executive assistant to Director Lisa Brown. She has been with the department for five years. In her previous roles with Commerce, Sarah has served as the administrative assistant for the former Community Services and Housing Division, a contract specialist with the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program, as legislative coordinator for the agency and as executive administrator for Deputy Director Kendrick Stewart. Before coming to Commerce, Sarah owned a corrosion control company in the Kingdom of Bahrain and a landscape company in Quilcene. Sarah has also worked as a project manager for a high-end construction company, administrative assistant for a community action program to help adults with developmental disabilities live independently in their own homes, as a receptionist in a woman’s clinic, as a balloon artist and as a flight attendant for Southwest Airlines. Sarah earned her bachelor’s degree in psychology at Argosy University in Seattle.

Deputy Director Kendrick Stewart

Kendrick Stewart, Deputy Director of Organizational Health, Organizational Health, Equity and Performance Division

A public servant for more than 20 years, Kendrick Stewart (he/him) returned to Commerce in February 2020 to lead the agency’s internal operations, with a specific focus on organizational health, equity and performance. His focus is on achieving and sustaining operational excellence and helping individuals and teams thrive. Kendrick has a passion for learning what motivates people, collaborative problem-solving and service. He is committed to community building and aspires to ensure all Commerce employees feel valued for who they are. He holds a bachelor’s degree in liberal arts from Colorado State University and a master’s of public administration degree from the University of Washington. Away from work, Kendrick enjoys playing basketball, listening to music, hiking, reading, and connecting with family and friends.

Diane Klontz

Diane Klontz, Deputy Director of Division and Program Alignment

Diane Klontz joined the Department of Commerce in 2001 and serves as director of division and program alignment. Previously, she led the agency’s Community Services and Housing Division for nine years, until agency growth required the division become two. 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, policy development, results-oriented work, and working collaboratively with employees, community partners, individuals and families across the state to strengthen communities. Diane received her bachelor's degree in psychology from Washington State University. She serves as the governor’s appointee on Serve Washington, on the Governor's Interagency Council on Health Disparities, as a member and past vice chair and chair of the Adult Education Advisory Council, and as a commissioner on the Washington State Housing Finance Commission. She co-leads the Governor's Poverty Reduction Workgroup to Dismantle Poverty. Diane also previously served on the board of directors for the Washington Community Reinvestment Association. She received the 2013 Governor’s Award for Leadership in Management. Diane was born and raised in Washington. She loves the rain and sunny days and especially spending time with family and friends in the great Northwest.

Martin McMurry

Martin McMurry, Chief Operations Officer, Operations Division

Martin McMurry (he/him) joined Commerce in 2015 and leads the Operations Division as chief operations officer, overseeing Office Services and Information Services, among other duties. Previously, Martin served as chief financial officer and assistant director of the Financial Services Division. 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, including working for Commerce in the Housing Trust Fund back in 2006 while completing his master’s degree in public administration from Evergreen State College. Before joining Commerce, Martin was a budget manager for the Employment Security Department. Martin holds a bachelor’s degree from Central Washington University and can usually be found on the pitch in Olympia watching his two children play soccer.

Legislative Director Jasmine Vasavada

Jasmine Vasavada, Director of Government Affairs and Policy

Jasmine Vasavada became Commerce’s director of government affairs and policy in 2022, having joined the Executive Leadership Team as legislative director in 2018. She earned a juris doctorate from the University of Washington and a bachelor’s of science degree from Harvard University. 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 Ecology Division and the Office of Program Research, the nonpartisan committee staff in the Washington State House of Representatives. Jasmine also participated in the Tulalip Tribal Criminal Defense Clinic, served as a teaching assistant for a public-interest writing clinic, and studied mediation and negotiations. After a clerkship at the Supreme Court of Guam and a brief stint working for a private law firm in Chicago, Jasmine launched her career in Washington as counsel to the Washington State House or Representatives Committee on Technology, Energy and Economic Development, where she staffed issues relating to tax incentives, clean energy, telecommunications and consumer privacy. Jasmine and her wife, Pier, are happy to make Olympia their home, with two young children, a rotating cast of chickens and evolving plans to cooperatively develop a small parcel of land in northeast Olympia.

Mark Barkley

Mark Barkley, Assistant Director, Local Government Division

Mark Barkley has been with the Department of Commerce since 2013 and 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 supports the State Broadband Office, Community Development Block Grants, Building Community Fund, Building for the Arts, Youth Recreations, Early Learning, Child Care Facilities, Behavior Health Funds, Brownfields Revolving Loan Fund, Research Services, Library Capital Funds and Growth Management Services. Mark is also responsible for supporting and implementing the local CARES Act, State and Local Fiscal Recovery and Capital Project, and the Infrastructure Investments and Job Act funds. He has more than 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 horses, chickens, dogs and cats.

Theresa Burkheimer

Theresa Burkheimer, Chief Human Resources Officer

A public servant for more than 10 years, Theresa Burkheimer (she/her) rejoined Commerce in November 2021 to head Human Resources. In her role, she leads a team of 11 who focus on the internal needs of the agency’s more than 500 team members. Human Resources cares for employees through their employment lifecycle with Commerce, including recruiting, hiring, strategic workforce planning, training and development, retention and succession planning. Theresa particularly enjoys helping shape organizational culture to ensure that all team members are set up for success. She graduated from Central Washington University with a bachelor’s in business administration and an emphasis in human resources. She previously served at the Departments of Information Services, Corrections, and Social and Health Services. Theresa loves everything about the Pacific Northwest — except pumpkin spice lattes. When not shuttling around kids or watching their sporting events, she enjoys running, skiing, being on the water and spending time with loved ones.

Michael Furze, Assistant Director, Energy Division

Michael Furze, Assistant Director, Energy Division

Michael Furze is an assistant director at the Department of Commerce, where he heads the State Energy Office. This office leads Washington state’s transition to a clean and just energy future through policy leadership, investing in cutting-edge clean technologies, planning and responding to energy emergencies, and expanding equitable access to clean energy. This work strengthens communities, so Washington residents can thrive in a clean, affordable and equitable energy economy. Michael also serves on the Board of the National Association of State Energy Officials. He holds a master’s degree in community and regional planning and a graduate certificate in town design from the University of New Mexico. When not focused on his energy work, Michael and his family patiently wait for the sun to occasionally emerge from behind the clouds and rain of the Pacific Northwest.

Commerce Tribal Liaison Michelle Gladstone-Wade

Michelle Gladstone-Wade, Tribal Liaison

Michelle Gladstone-Wade joined Commerce in February 2022. She is honored to serve as the tribal liaison and lead Commerce’s efforts to develop and strengthen government-to-government relationships. Previously she worked with the Washington State Department of Revenue, where she built relationships with Tribes in the area of compact administration. Before state service, Michelle spent 10 years at a Tribal College, working in student services and foundation management with significant contributions as faculty and as an academic administrator. Her experience spans tribal economic development, tribal governance, business administration and Indigenous research. Michelle earned her bachelor’s from Dartmouth College in 2008, where she also earned two master’s, one in business administration and the other in leadership. Currently, she is working on a PhD with Te Whare Wānanga o Awanuiārangi, located in Whatatāne, New Zealand, with a focus on the intersection of culture, language, organizational development and their impacts on tribal economic development. Michelle grew up in a Coast Salish family surrounded by traditions old and new. The teachings from her Suquamish Tribe and Shxwhá:y Village lineages have molded her character and values and serve as the foundation of her approach to tribal engagement. Outside of work, Michelle spends her spare time baking, training for long-distance runs, chasing her kids around and lavishing the family cats with extra attention.

Chris Green, Assistant Director of the Office of Economic Development & Competitiveness

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. Before that, he worked in government relations for several elected officials, including former U.S. Rep. Norm Dicks, former Seattle Mayor Ed Murray and U.S. Rep. Derek Kilmer. Chris earned his bachelor's degree in political science from Pacific Lutheran University and a master’s of business administration from the University of Washington. He and his wife, Shannon, live in Tacoma with their three children.

Corina Grigoras

Corina Grigoras, Assistant Director, Housing Division

Corina Grigoras is the Assistant Director for the Housing Division (HD) at the Department of Commerce. By administering more than 80 programs, HD partners with local governments, community nonprofits and housing providers, housing authorities, Tribes, and other state agencies to promote individual and family self-sufficiency, develop and preserve affordable housing, and reduce adult and youth homelessness. Corina joined Commerce in 2008 and has since touched almost every aspect of our agency programs, becoming familiar with our clients, work, and budgetary and legislative process. Corina’s roles quickly evolved and her responsibilities increased over the years, leading programs and teams focused on providing much-needed housing, services and support for persons with special needs in our communities. Corina thrives working in a fast-paced, politically charged environment. She likes to focus on problem solving and measurable results, leading in a team environment and facilitating collaborative policy development and implementation, never ceasing to look for program and process improvements. Corina is a strong believer in excellent public service and takes pride in the quality of services that her team provides to our communities. After she emigrated from Romania, Corina quickly learned English and went to college in Los Angeles and then Seattle. She graduated with a bachelor’s in business administration from the University of Washington. In her free time, Corina spends time with her husband, two teenage children, and Bella the pup.

Cindy Guertin-Anderson

Cindy Guertin-Anderson, Assistant Director, Community Services Division

Cindy Guertin-Anderson (she/her/hers) joined Commerce in September 2022 as assistant director of the Community Services Division. Its dozens of programs focus on offering economic opportunities (such as job readiness and low-income energy and water assistance), crime victim advocacy (such as sexual assault and trafficking prevention and services for survivors), and firearm safety and violence prevention (for example, financial fraud and identity theft and dispute resolution). She also partners with the Developmental Disability Council and the Reentry Council, both state entities housed within the division. Cindy combines her passions for social justice, being a trauma-informed healer and providing compassionate, effective leadership to strengthen communities. Before joined Commerce, Cindy served as assistant director for Workforce Support and Development at the Department of Enterprise Services. Before joining state government in 2016 as director of the Employee Assistance Program, Cindy worked in the nonprofit and faith-based sectors, primary with survivors of violence and in support of social change. Cindy graduated with bachelor's degrees in biology and religion from Whitworth University and a master's in marriage and family therapy from Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary. She, her wife and two children live in Olympia and enjoy singing, sailing, hiking and playing games together.

Joyce Miller, Chief Financial Officer, Financial Services Division

Headshot of Liz Rocca

Liz Rocca, Director of Communications

Liz Rocca joined Commerce as communications director in 2022. Liz is an award-winning journalist and leader of people, spending much of her career in Seattle newsrooms before transitioning to government service. Before joining Commerce, she worked at the King County Sheriff's Office, where she served as chief of staff and media relations manager. Committed to public service, Liz is responsible for leading our external communications strategies and efforts as well as our talented Communications Team. Her goal is to showcase the work Commerce is doing, highlight the successes of people and business partners within our communities, and help the agency reach new audiences, particularly in underserved communities. She holds a bachelor’s from Weber State University and a master’s from San Francisco State University, both in political science.

Cheryl Smith

Cheryl Smith, Director of Community Engagement and Outreach

Cheryl Smith is director of Community Engagement and Outreach for the Department of Commerce, where her team helps communities address priority needs through technical assistance, navigating funding programs and advocacy. Her team also launches innovative projects and policy development initiatives that advance Commerce’s mission of strengthening communities, including efforts around child care and equity. Cheryl has a long track record of leading collaborative efforts in state and local government to address complex issues and opportunities. Her experience includes local infrastructure financing, environmental protection, community planning and self-help, grant and loan programs, regulatory streamlining and initiatives to advance equity. She is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Kansas State University, earning a bachelor’s in political science and social sciences and a master’s in public administration. She holds several personal coaching certifications and considers herself a lifelong learner. Cheryl is passionate about being an ally for all. She values working with the talented team at Commerce and is inspired by people from all walks of life whose dedication makes Washington’s communities so vibrant. A Michigan transplant, Cheryl lives in Olympia with her family and has grown to love the Pacific Northwest, rain and all.

Marissa VanHoozer

Marissa Joy VanHoozer, Director of Equity and Belonging

Marissa Joy VanHoozer (she/her) joined Commerce in 2022 in a new equity- and belonging-focused executive position. She has spent her career advancing equity and inclusion efforts in various industries, including working with stakeholder and customer groups to ensure access to services. She’s led teams in auditing for and improving services to ensure culturally and linguistically appropriate standards are met, authored strategic equity frameworks and roadmaps, and used her subject matter expertise in organizational culture work to ensure that improvements make it to every level of an agency. She is a proud veteran of the U.S. Army, where she served as a heavy equipment operator and later graduated from the Presidio of Monterey as a cryptologic linguist specializing in Tagalog and Tausug. She earned a bachelor’s in business administration from the University of Maryland Global Campus and holds a Master Black Belt in Lean Six Sigma from Villanova University. Her hobbies include chasing her child out of the room during virtual meetings, trying new foods, and laughing with friends and colleagues.