Executive Leadership Team
Mike Fong, Director
Mike Fong (he/him) has more than two decades of experience in the public sector at the city, county and national level, leading people and managing complex policy priorities. Prior to being appointed Commerce Director by Gov. Jay Inslee, he served as Pacific Northwest regional administrator for the U.S. Small Business Administration. Fong’s past leadership roles include serving as senior deputy mayor of Seattle where he led policy development to provide funding for two years of free community college for public high school graduates. Fong is committed to supporting Commerce’s mission of strengthening communities and growing economic opportunity in every corner of the state. He has been honored with the International Examiner’s Community Voice award for excellence in civic leadership, and continues to do volunteer work in his community. Fong serves on the Board of the WA State Ballpark Public Facilities District overseeing T-Mobile Park (home of the Seattle Mariners) and spent several years coaching youth basketball for the Seattle Chinese Athletic Association. A native of Spokane, he received his Bachelor of Arts in political science from the University of Washington. He speaks Cantonese fluently.
Sarah Coggins, Executive Assistant to the Director
Sarah Coggins (she/her/hers) is executive assistant to the Director. Sarah joined the department in 2017. In her previous roles with Commerce, Sarah has served as the administrative assistant for the Assistant Director of 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 in the Deputy Director’s office. 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.
Kyla Shkerich Blair, Chief of Staff
In summer 2023, Kyla Shkerich Blair (she/her) joined Commerce as Director Mike Fong’s chief of staff. Her focus in on implementing structural and system alignment that supports our now midsized agency. She also leads the day-to-day operations of the Director’s Office, which includes the Communications, Government Affairs and Policy, Office of Tribal Relations, and Outreach and Engagement teams. Shkerich Blair has worked in politics in Washington for more than a decade, having served in city, state and federal government roles that engage with communities across the state. Those previous positions include working as U.S. Sen. Patty Murray’s deputy state director and former Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan’s director of external affairs. In addition, Shkerich Blair also led small business outreach and engaged in advocacy work for the Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce and learned about state government through working for state Rep. Mia Gregerson for two sessions. Shkerich Blair has a bachelor’s in U.S. history from the University of Idaho. She is a lifelong resident of Washington state and lives in Des Moines with her husband, 2-year-old daughter, and dog and cat. In her free time, she and her family enjoy exploring their local community, particularly the parks, farmers markets and small businesses.
Kendrick Stewart, Deputy Director of Organizational Health
Kendrick Stewart (he/him) has been a public servant for more than 20 years. Stewart returned to Commerce in February 2020 to lead the agency’s internal operations, with a specific focus on organizational health, equity and performance. Stewart’s focus is on achieving and sustaining operational excellence and helping individuals and teams thrive. He has a passion for learning what motivates people, collaborative problem-solving and service. Stewart 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, Stewart enjoys playing basketball, listening to music, hiking, reading, and connecting with family and friends.
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 and as a member and past vice chair and chair of the Adult Education Advisory Council. 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.
Lawrence Banks, Chief Information Officer, Information Services
Lawrence Banks (he/him) joined Commerce as chief information officer in 2023. He brings with him a strong commitment to community and three decades of experience in information technology (IT). Lawrence began his IT career in the U.S. Air Force. He later joined state service, including with Labor & Industries, the Department of Corrections and the Employment Security Department. Lawrence is skilled in leading and developing teams, planning, IT prioritization processes, and customer engagement. Family is his top priority. He is married and has seven children and four grandchildren. In his free time, he enjoys gaming and traveling with family.
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, 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 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.
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, 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, Assistant Director, Housing Division
Corina Grigoras is the Assistant Director for the Housing Division (HD) at the Department of Commerce. HD administers over 60 programs by partnering with local governments, community nonprofits, housing authorities, tribes, and other state agencies to promote individual and family self-sufficiency, develop and preserve affordable housing, in order to 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 processes. She serves as a commissioner on the Washington State Housing Finance Commission. Corina’s responsibilities increased over the years, leading programs and teams focused on providing much-needed housing and services that strengthen our communities. Corina focuses on problem solving with measurable results, leading in a team environment and facilitating collaborative policy development and implementation, never ceasing to look for improvement opportunities. She is passionate about delivering excellent public service and takes pride in the quality of services that her team provides to our communities. After emigrating 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 degree 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, Assistant Director, Community Services Division
Cindy Guertin-Anderson (she/her) joined Commerce in September 2022 as assistant director of the Community Services Division, which partners with local governments, Tribes, community based organizations, and nonprofits to provide community assistance, promote individual and family self-sufficiency, address the causes and effects of crime and violence, and increase equity and belonging for all Washingtonians. Its dozens of programs serve communities across Washington by offering economic opportunities such as job readiness and low-income energy and water assistance, crime victim advocacy and services for survivors of DV, sexual assault, human trafficking, and other crimes, firearm safety and violence prevention, improving community safety, and advocacy for people with developmental disabilities and for those reentering the community after incarceration. Cindy combines her passions for social justice, being a trauma-informed healer and providing compassionate, effective leadership to strengthen communities. Before she joined Commerce, Cindy served as assistant director for Workforce Support and Development at the Department of Enterprise Services where she received the 2020 Governor’s Award for Leadership in Management. Prior to joining state government in 2016 as director of the Employee Assistance Program, Cindy worked in the nonprofit and faith-based sectors, primarily with survivors of violence and in support of social change. Cindy graduated with bachelors 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.
Kai Matthews, Chief Financial Officer, Financial Services Division
Kai Matthews (he/him) joined Commerce as chief financial officer in 2023. He leads the Financial Services Division, including the Accounting, Budget, Contracts and Internal Controls teams. Kai has a master’s in accounting and a passion for making a positive difference in communities. In fact, he has worked in public service his entire career, including for the Department of Enterprise Services, Administrative Office of the Courts, School for the Deaf, and Army and Air Force Exchange Service. Originally from the East Coast, Kai came to Washington with his military family in 2008. In his free time, he enjoys gaming and anime.
Dave Pringle, Legislative Director, Legislation and Policy Team
Dave Pringle (he/him) has been appointed interim government affairs and policy director of Commerce. A policy and public affairs professional for more than 15 years, Pringle joined the agency’s Government Affairs and Policy Team at the end of 2019 as a policy advisor. His background in public affairs includes communications, policy development and strategic planning for political campaigns, private consulting, and legislative work at the state Legislature. Pringle focuses on collaborative work to serve communities and in his personal life. He relies on working together with trust, transparency, and a willingness to listen and learn from those involved in issues to find solutions. Commerce’s broad portfolio and bright teams are committed to equitably strengthening our state’s communities based on innovative solutions. Pringle holds a master’s degree from the University of Washington Evans School of Public Policy and Governance and a bachelor’s degree in political science from Western Washington University. He lives in Tacoma with his family and enjoys traveling, hiking, camping and raising his children with his wife.
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, 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 Joy VanHoozer, Chief Equity and Operations Officer, Equity and Operations Division
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.