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 in Eastern Washington and on gender equity.
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.

Washington state booth at Select USA Summit 2019

Commerce goes to Washington, DC for SelectUSA Summit

Commerce led another June business delegation to Washington, D.C. for the SelectUSA Investment Summit, a U.S. Department of Commerce annual event dedicated to promoting foreign direct investment in the U.S. Over several days, the Choose Washington contingent met with over 40 companies from more than a dozen countries, and eight foreign trade and economic development organizations. On the trip coordinated by Commerce’s Radi Simeonova, Evan Wendlandt and Tammy Deets were

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Lisa Brown cutting ribbon at PAS19

Another successful Paris Air Show is in the books.

One of the great honors of this job is representing Washington state to the world. Aerospace is a key driver of our overall thriving economy, generating $70 billion annually in economic activity and supporting jobs that strengthen all of our communities. This makes the Paris Air Show one of our most important venues for international business development and exchange. As the top state for aerospace in America – and one of the

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MOU signing

Agreement promotes economic cooperation, trade relations

Maritime, environmental, fisheries and other technologies are emphasized in a new memorandum of understanding signed by Chris Green, director of Commerce’s Office of Economic Development and Competitiveness, and Gro Eirin Dyrnes, head of Innovation Norway (@Grodyrnes). Lt. Gov Cyrus Habib and Norway Ambassador to the U.S. Kare Aas witnessed the agreement during the Nordic Innovation Summit. Areas of cooperation include decarbonization of vessels, ocean technology innovation including offshore marine renewable energy, sub-sea sensors, gliders and robotics,

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Norway officials

Consul General of Norway Jo Sletbak and Norway Ambassador to the U.S. Kare Aas visit Commerce

Earlier this month, the Consul General of Norway Jo Sletbak and  Norway Ambassador to the U.S. Kare Aas visited Commerce. The Norwegian officials were in town for the Nordic Innovation Summit (read more about Washington Maritime Blue below), an exciting opportunity for our maritime and tech communities to continue our work together to advance clean technology, a sustainable ocean economy worldwide, Smart Cities initiatives and more.

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Capital budget boosts Commerce funding for rural broadband, community behavioral health facilities, housing

When Governor Inslee signed the new budgets this month, Commerce programs received strong support for our mission of strengthening communities. In addition to rural broadband, highlights in the capital budget included: Housing Trust Fund investments will provide 4,100 new affordable housing units, including 500 aging units and rent assistance to local communities for 1,000 more people and permanent supportive housing for 135 more homeless families Community Behavioral Health Facilities received an unprecedented $118

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U.S. News ranks Washington #1 Best State

Washington’s success doesn’t stop with having the highest GDP growth and strongest job growth in the nation last year, our state tops the list as overall “Best State” in the latest U.S. News and World Report  rankings. Strong technology and clean energy sectors are driving growth and innovation. “The big challenge in front of us is to continue working to spread the opportunities evenly across the state.”  —- Washington State Department of Commerce Director Dr. Lisa 

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Lisa Brown and Commerce delegation in Madrid March 2019

First impressions, crucial conversations

By Lisa Brown, Director It’s hard to believe that a month has passed since I accepted Gov. Inslee’s appointment to lead the Department of Commerce. I knew this was going to be an exciting opportunity for me to apply my experience in government, health science and economics to advance the agency’s mission of strengthening communities all over the state. If these first weeks are any indication, I’m in for a

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Electric Truck Cab at PACCAR

Tech innovation happening everywhere

Acting Commerce Director Connie Robins joined Governor Inslee’s ICT sector lead Dr. Joseph Williams in Mount Vernon, Skagit County last week for a briefing on a world-leading program at PACCAR to build the coming generation of autonomous trucks. “There’s a lot of amazing tech innovation happening all over the state,” said Williams. Technology and cloud computing are transforming every industry sector from aerospace and agriculture to medicine and maritime. Learn

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We cannot rest on our laurels

While it’s gratifying to reflect on the strides we make each year, all of our accomplishments and our future successes rely on leaders setting a positive, productive and collaborative tone for the entire state. Unlike the negativity and gridlock plaguing the Other Washington, I am heartened by the way in which individuals and organizations here are able to set aside petty differences for the greater good. It’s inspiring to be

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Striving for equity and inclusion

A couple of years into my service in this position, we formed the Minority Business Roundtable, made up of business leaders representing different ethnic and minority communities in Washington. This group has been helpful in creating ideas that help us promote inclusivity, beginning with good data. For example, our ADO’s responsible for local economic development are now required to track the number of minority and women-owned businesses they assist. Similarly,

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Energy innovation is happening all around us

Old ideas don’t help us solve new problems. We reorganized the State Energy Office to adapt to the changing landscape of the clean energy economy. Our Energy Office is constantly analyzing data, technology, and research projects to help us make informed decisions. More than just thought leaders, we’re leading work happening now, all over the state and the Pacific Coast region, to build the low-carbon future. Since January 2013, we

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