Commerce welcomes new communications director 

Jaime Smith has nearly 20 years of communications, outreach and policy experience.

Jaime SmithOLYMPIA, WA – Washington State Department of Commerce Director Lisa Brown today announced Jaime Smith will join the Commerce team ahead of Communications Director Barbara Dunn’s impending retirement.

“I’m excited to welcome Jaime to the agency!” Director Lisa Brown said. “Her policy, outreach and communication skills as well as her state government knowledge and connections are a tremendous asset to meet evolving communication needs as we serve pandemic-stricken communities through an economic crisis.”

Smith has nearly 20 years of communications, outreach and policy experience, much of it in state government.

She recently served as Gov. Jay Inslee’s executive director of communications and external affairs, where she oversaw the governor’s communications, constituent services and outreach teams. She left briefly to start her own communications firm, but the COVID-19 pandemic brought her back into state government, where she served as director of the state’s COVID-19 Joint Information Center at Camp Murray.

“I’m incredibly thankful for this opportunity to join the team at Commerce during this time of tremendous economic and societal change,” said Smith. “Commerce plays a pivotal role in supporting communities and industries on many of the most challenging issues of our time. Recently, my work in response to the pandemic gave me a first-hand look at Commerce’s role in developing a strong economic recovery plan, support for businesses and housing, and ensuring all communities have equitable access to investments in things like broadband or child care. These efforts make it possible for people to pursue job and education opportunities now and well into the future. Commerce is ready for this challenge and I’m excited to be part of it.”

Smith’s earlier work includes legislative assistant and policy analyst and communications specialist for several top budget writers and leaders of the Washington State House of Representatives.

She also worked at a Seattle-based national public affairs firm that works extensively in the environmental, health care and transportation sectors. Throughout her career, Smith has organized, strategized, written and spoken on issues as varied as climate change, education, economic development, health care, social justice and transportation.

Smith is joining ahead of Dunn’s retirement, giving the agency time to bring Smith up to speed on all the great work the agency has been engaged in.

“Barb is why we have the robust, capable Communications Team we do today,” Brown said. “Over the years, she has grown and trained the team, expanding it to offer digital, visual and internal communications. Thank you, Barb, for giving so much to the agency over the years, including launching the Agency Resource Books and All-Agency and Discover Commerce meetings.”


Penny Thomas

Commerce Communications, (206) 256-6106 | Mobile/text: (360) 704-9489

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