Commerce adds to leadership team

Liz Rocca to lead communications; Stephanie Bowman appointed to lead maritime sector economic development 

OLYMPIA, WA — Washington Department of Commerce Director Lisa Brown recently announced two new appointments to key leadership roles in the growing state agency. Veteran journalist Liz Rocca joins Commerce’s Executive Leadership team as Communications Director. In the department’s Office of Economic Development and Competitiveness, former Port of Seattle Commissioner Stephanie Bowman is serving as Governor’s Maritime Industry Sector Lead.

Headshot of Liz Rocca

Liz Rocca

Rocca joins Commerce from the King County Sheriff’s Office (KCSO), where she served as Chief of Staff and Media Relations Manager. In addition to her role as a strategic and policy adviser, she managed all internal and external communications initiatives, and served as a liaison with the King County Council, Executive’s Office and Office of Law Enforcement Oversight. Her leadership in external relations with key stakeholders and partners including elected officials and staff, city managers, community groups and underserved communities, was instrumental in restoring integrity and transparency to the KCSO’s communications with the news media and the public.

Rocca is also an award-winning journalist, with deep credentials as a reporter and newsroom manager, including with Seattle television stations KIRO, KCPQ and KOMO. Rocca holds a Bachelor of Science degree from Weber State University and a Master’s from San Francisco State University, both in political science.

“The programs and services offered by Commerce are vital to helping our communities continue to recover from the pandemic and prosper,” Rocca said. “I’m especially looking forward to telling the stories of the incredible range of people and partners Commerce serves, as we work together to ensure equitable access to opportunity throughout the state.” Reach Liz at

Headshot of Stephanie Bowman

Stephanie Bowman

Bowman is Commerce’s new Maritime Industry Sector Lead, responsible for developing and implementing state policies that support the sustainability and expansion of the maritime industry in Washington. She works closely with the breadth of maritime businesses, supporting international trade and shipping, Washington state export businesses, the commercial fishing industry and recreational boating.

Prior to this role, Bowman served for eight years as a commissioner for the Port of Seattle, where she led the effort to combine the marine cargo operations of the Ports of Seattle and Tacoma, resulting in formation of the NW Seaport Alliance, ending more than 80 years of competition between the two gateways. Prior to her elected public service, Bowman worked on federal port, international trade and transportation policy in Washington D.C., and for more than 15 years on regional and state economic development issues.

Bowman holds an MBA in Executive Leadership from Seattle University, a Bachelor of Science from the University of Idaho, and was honored with a Marshall Memorial Fellowship in 2007.

“Washington state has a competitive advantage in the maritime industry, with our naturally deep water ports, our proximity to Asian markets, and as the homeport for commercial fishing in Alaska,” Bowman said. “I’m thrilled to be in a position to help grow the industry as it supports tens of thousands of jobs across the state, and creates new opportunities around environmental sustainability.” Reach Stephanie at


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