Alice Zillah

Research Services Manager
360-725-5035 or

Alice has advanced skills in project management, stakeholder coordination, and policy development. Alice is impeccable at meeting project-quality, budget, and timeline targets.

Skills: Project management, program development, stakeholder facilitation, policy research, and development

Policy area expertise: Criminal justice, mental health, human trafficking, housing, social services, economic development

Education: Certificate in Project Management, University of Washington; B.A., The Evergreen State College

Experience: Has conducted research and project coordination on topics such as human trafficking, housing, small business assistance, business models for energy efficiency, offender re-entry services, and infrastructure. Alice has been a local government fiscal note analyst for nine legislative sessions. Prior to joining Commerce she was the operations manager for a nonprofit organization and worked for the Department of Information Services, first managing the state’s videoconference network and later coordinating a key aspect of a multi-million-dollar data conversion project.

Allan Johnson

Program Manager
360-725-5033 or

Allan brings his broad experience in land-use planning, housing, and GIS skills to our agency for work on the Puget Sound Mapping Project, fiscal notes, and other research projects.

Skills: Project management, policy analysis, demographic research, spatial trend analysis, facilitation and public participation
Policy area expertise: Land-use planning, housing policy, spatial information, demographics

Education: M.U.P. in Urban Planning, Univ. of Washington; B.A. in Political Science, Idaho State U.; AAS in Geographic Information Systems, GRCC

Experience: Over 20 years of comprehensive planning, affordable housing, GIS and census/demographic experience and has worked for jurisdictions and agencies that include Shoreline, Renton, King County, and the U.S. Census Bureau. At Commerce Allan has managed the development of an integrated map of zoning and development throughout the Puget Sound. In addition, he has led efforts on the state’s Consolidated Plan to guide the use of federal Housing and Urban Development funds. He is the lead local government fiscal note analyst on land use, housing, and related issues and manages the Bond Cap Allocation Program.

Renee Martine-Tebow

Research Project Coordinator
360-725-5045 or

Renee is a jane-of-all-trades and a policy wonk. Since joining Research Services, she has managed projects as diverse as researching cost-effective, sustainable K-3 schools, rape prevention and education metrics, and water resource rights in the Mid-Columbia region..

Skills: Policy analysis, project management, mixed-methods, research design, stakeholder facilitation, and organizational development.

Policy area expertise: Government Operations, Elections, Taxes, Public Works, and Marijuana

Education: M.P.A and B.A. The Evergreen State College

Experience: Previously, Renee freelanced as an organization development consultant advising nonprofits in the South Sound region. She has also conducted research and policy development at the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction, the Washington State Institute for Public Policy, and the Department of Fish and Wildlife. And she has staffed multiple legislative committees, including the Social-Emotional Learning Benchmarks workgroup, the Expanded Learning Opportunities Council, and the Educational Opportunity Gap Oversight and Accountability Committee.

Austin Scharff

Researcher and Local Government Fiscal Note Analyst
360-725-3126 or

Austin brings leadership, communication skills, and an interdisciplinary skillset to his work at Research Services, which spans the study of the political economy of energy policy to financial institutions and agriculture. A native Washingtonian, he has a passion for problem-solving and providing assistance on public policy and finance issues that affect the social wellbeing and economic vitality of local communities across the state.

Skills: Public policy and finance analysis, stakeholder development, project management, negotiation analysis, writing and editing.

Policy area expertise: Energy and public utilities, transportation, telecommunications, agriculture, environment, natural resources, economic development, financial institutions, miscellaneous issues.

Education: MSc in International Political Economy at the London School of Economics; B.A. in International Political Economy at the University of Puget Sound; B.A. in Politics & Government at the University of Puget Sound.

Experience: Austin has worked on a number of projects and grant applications since joining Commerce, which have ranged from establishing a statewide inventory of unreinforced masonry buildings to creating best practices for local governments to increase accessibility to specialized nurses. Previously, Austin independently studied state-building efforts in Pristina, Kosovo, and served as a writing advisor at the University of Puget Sound.

Tom Gilmore

Data Analyst/Researcher
360-725-5038 or

Tom has a passion for data analysis and data-informed policy analysis. He specializes in communicating results of complex analysis in a manner consumable by all types of stake holders.

Skills: Policy and data analysis, research, data management, and project management

Policy area expertise: Water, Natural Resources, and Environment

Education: M.A. Environmental policy and M.B.A. Management, Middlebury Institute of International Studies; B.A Political Science and B.S. Biology, Central Washington University

Experience: Tom has nearly a decade of experience working in data analysis, including several years leading a data collection and analysis team as a lead intelligence analyst with the US Navy.

Since joining Research Services, Tom has focused on environmental legislation and projects, particularly related to water resource issues and the Hirst decision. Additionally, he played a key role in the production of the 2018-2022 Thurston County Regional Consolidated Plan, a report encompassing analysis and planning related to affordable housing, homelessness, public infrastructure, and economic development.

Amber Siefer

Research Project Manager
360-725-2733  or

Amber brings an applied-research lens and customer-focused approach to her work for communities and clients. She has 5 years of program and project management experience, and over 10 years of research and writing experience across public and private sectors.

Skills: Relationship building and stakeholder development; project consultation; project scoping, design, implementation, and management; policy and regulatory analysis; advanced skills in quantitative and qualitative research methods; communications, report writing and editing.

Policy expertise: Workforce development, financial capability, socioeconomic development

Education: M.P.A., The Evergreen State College; B.A. in Sociocultural Anthropology, University of Washington

Experience: Over the past 15 years, Amber has worked for the Board of Industrial Insurance Appeals, where she supervised dispute resolution staff; managed a law firm specializing in employment law; and worked as a researcher and community advocate at the Burke Museum of Natural History and Culture.  At Commerce, she has successfully developed and launched a marketplace program, produced two comprehensive legislative studies, and worked as a lead analyst for the Local Government Fiscal Note Program.