Development Dialogues

I recently sat down for a podcast interview with Global Media Inc (GMI), which is a digital media platform that brings together selected news and analysis, as well as customized regional economic reports published in some of the world’s premier publications: Foreign Affairsthe Japan TimesForbesForbes China, and Forbes Asia.

  • How do you effectively market an entire region?
  • What marketing channels should economic developers lean into?
  • How can economic developers create simple yet powerful marketing campaigns?

Now available on Spotify and Apple Podcasts:

APEC is advancing the inclusive growth we all seek in Washington

The following is an op-ed I ghost wrote for two former Governors and was published in the Seattle Times:

Special to The Seattle Times

As Seattle hosted the inaugural APEC meeting in 1993, Microsoft had just surpassed selling 25 million copies of Windows, Starbucks had launched 250 stores nationwide, Chukar Cherries had just opened in Pike Place Market and companies like Amazon, Expedia, and Zillow were not yet created.

Over the course of 30 years, our hometown companies have grown to more than a billion users on Windows, coffee at over 36,000 stores in more than 80 countries, and our companies are recognized in households across the world delivering online shopping and travel, cloud computing and a $4.99 rotisserie chicken.

As more than 3,000 senior officials and delegates from the 21 member economies of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation convene again from late July to mid-August, every Washingtonian has a stake in our state’s close ties with members of APEC as our jobs, small businesses, and companies are deeply connected.

The conference allows us to spotlight the Evergreen State and showcases our region’s thought leadership and values, deepens critical relationships, creates ongoing economic impact and supports the Emerald City’s restaurants and small businesses. The meeting comes as Seattle has surged once again to become the fastest-growing big city in the U.S. — driven by our innovative companies that are shaping the global economy in industry sectors such as aviation, clean energy, food, technology, life science, health and transportation. Our regional GDP is now a staggering $479 billion, establishing us as the ninth largest metro economy in the nation. This success would not be possible without connecting our innovation with free, fair and open trade with APEC’s member economies.

In Greater Seattle, our total trade with APEC member economies surpassed $1 trillion from 2012 to 2022, averaging over $90 billion annually, or 76% of the region’s total trade. Our deep connections have created jobs and fueled economic engines such as Seattle-Tacoma International Airport and our deep water ports in Seattle, Tacoma, and Everett — these are some of the largest global connectors and international gateways in North America.

As governors, we’ve seen the impact of trade both here and overseas. Abroad, we’ve promoted Rainier cherries in South Korea, french fries in Vietnam, and Almond Roca in Beijing. This was made possible solely by the hard work of Washingtonians: our farmers, entrepreneurs and workers. Right here at home, our trade relationships support more than 931,000 Washington jobs and 12,000 small businesses who produce and export billions of dollars of recognized products the world wants and needs.

To see the dependence of jobs on exports and trade, one only needs to look at Boeing, where 70% of their planes are sold to foreign airlines. Boeing’s 64,000 employees here in Washington, and the employees of its more than 1,000 suppliers across our region, would be dramatically fewer without these exports. These workers are not only our friends, neighbors, and family, but they support so many more jobs in our region as they visit their favorite coffee shops, restaurants and small businesses. This impact is repeated with companies large and small in our state.

APEC also plays a vital role in shaping our economy by providing an opportunity for all of us to collaborate and develop solutions to complex challenges such as climate change, digital access, energy diversification, gender inequities, global health and regulatory practices. Our state is leaning into many of these challenges to effect positive change and create more equitable prosperity across Washington, but we will accomplish much more when we work collaboratively with global partners.

As governors, we have seen how Washington state’s workers and families benefit from robust trade partnerships. We have heard from business and labor leaders alike that strong global demand for our products bolsters our economy. We share a rich history and connectivity with the Asia-Pacific region, and we remain steadfast in our commitment to grow our economic ties within APEC, recognizing the significant benefits that such engagement brings to our workers, families, and businesses. By fostering strong public and private partnerships and encouraging participation in APEC, we will ensure sustainable and inclusive economic growth for now and the next great Seattle companies.  

Paris Air Show

Great to be back in Paris to hear the roar of the F-35 and watch Boeing push the Gs on the 777x at Le Bourget. Lots of great meetings and was thrilled to win Best-in-Show for the sustainable design focus and indigenous artwork of our pavilion which was just an idea back at Farnborough.

“This pavillion grew from an inspiration by Greater Seattle Partners’ Robert Payne. Robert envisioned a green Choose Washington exhibit modelled after the Alaska Airlines’ holistic approach to sustainability, which includes not only ongoing advances in sustainable aviation such as those we were pleased to announce this week with ZeroAvia and Twelve, but also their gorgeous green headquarters building near Seattle-Tacoma International Airport.”

Other great highlights included a wonderful reception at Cercle National des Armées, boat ride down the Seine, the energy of the streets during Summer Solstice, and, well, just being in Paris. Also enjoyed a nice side trip to Nantes to tour Airbus and the adjacent innovation labs, as well as a boat excursion off the coast of Pornichet to learn more about their new wind farm.

Uncommon Thinkers Welcome

Anyone who has gone through the process of developing a brand position that encapsulates the unique values and spirit of a company or themselves knows it’s not easy, especially in a crowded and competitive marketplace. Even more so for a region that does not like to be defined or put in a box. That is why I like to think of Uncommon Thinkers Welcome, my latest brand development project, as more of an invitation than a label.

It has definitely been a journey moving through the various phases of stakeholder engagement – regional, domestic and international research – brand development and trademark – and final production. GeekWire does a great job of laying it out in this article, and I really appreciate their partnership in helping me launch the brand out in the world.

There are a lot of  fun but smart elements to the campaign.

I worked with each of these partners to provide social guidance and assets to amplify the launch. Of course, there were multiple channels involved to launch the campaign:

It has been an honor to work with so many amazing companies and partners to breathe life into this. I worked with more than 22 companies and partners to pull this off, including a 4-day video and photo shoot across Snohomish, King and Pierce County.

Paid media and much more to come!


Most days were spent surfing the river mouth or point break, but there was plenty of local color to be had where “the ocean has no memory.”

Harrison Hot Springs

A nice little jaunt from Seattle across the border to Canada and up through the Fraser Valley to Harrison Hot Springs. Feels a little bit like a throw back to the 1920s, but the pools are varied in temperature and relaxing, and there are plenty of lodging and food options.

The Village of Harrison Hot Springs has been a small resort community since 1886 when the opening of the Canadian Pacific Railway brought the lakeside springs within a short carriage ride of the transcontinental mainline. In its first promotion as a resort it was known as St. Alice’s Well, although Europeans had discovered it (not new to indigenous communities) decades earlier when a party of goldfield-bound travelers on Harrison Lake capsized into what they thought was their doom, only to discover the lake at that spot was not freezing, but warm.

Starting in November, over 35,000 eagles will pass through the lower Fraser Valley until February, with thousands of the birds accumulating on Harrison River daily to feast on spawning salmon. White Trumpeter Swans also winter in the valley.

Oyster Dome

The Chuckanut Mountains, or Chuckanuts, are located on the northern Washington state coast of the Salish Sea, just south of Bellingham, Washington. Being a part of the Cascade Range, they are the only place where the Cascades come west down to meet the sea.

About this same time, the ice would have been 3x the height of the Space Needle in downtown Seattle.

Emmons Glacier

I love returning to the Glacier Basin Trail because it offers incredible views of Emmons Glacier, the largest sheet of ice on Mount Rainier, and a milky blue-green glacial lake below. It is also a powerful example of global warming, and the dramatic retreat of ice. As you hike along the White River, you can observe the scale of the erosive powers of the mountain. The stark line between the trees and the raw river bank towers above you, and illustrates how destructive the raging mud and water once was as it swept through the canyon.

Farnborough Airshow

This year’s Farnborough International Airshow was a huge success for Greater Seattle and Washington-based aerospace companies. As our research illustrates, the UK is an invaluable trade and investment partner for our region, and to be there for the return of Farnborough after a 4-year hiatus marked the revival of the aerospace industry after the prolonged negative impacts of Covid-19.

Boeing inked a number of high profile deals, including Delta Air Lines’ purchase of 100 of its 737 MAX 10 jetliners, a $13.5B deal that is in addition to another $12B for the 737 Max 8, 737 Max 10 and 777x.

“We saw a little bit of that trickle of optimism in Dubai and it’s just so strong here in Farnborough,” Robert Payne, vice president of marketing and communications for economic development group Greater Seattle Partners, told the Business Journal in a call from the event, referencing the Dubai Airshow in November.

The activity, Payne said, is “proof that we’re getting back to pre-Covid times with better planes, better technology and better processes in place to ensure that the aerospace industry is safe and innovative.”

While Boeing’s 777x delighted spectators with incredible aerial displays and informative on-the-ground tours if its new, more fuel efficient technologies out on the tarmac, a host of Washington aerospace companies were inside the tradeshow showcasing their products and solutions from cybersecurity and artificial intelligence to advanced manufacturing and new forms of electric and hydrogen propulsion.

In another article detailing Boeing’s plans to expand its supply of sustainable aviation fuel, we gave readers a sense of what other local companies were there to evolve the aerospace industry.

The event has also provided a platform for Washington state to showcase its role in the development of sustainable technologies, said Robert Payne, marketing and communications lead for economic development group Greater Seattle Partners. He pointed to exhibits by companies like Everett-based electric propulsion startup MagniX and ZeroAvia, which has a research division for its hydrogen retrofit technology at Snohomish County’s Paine Field airport.

In addition to connecting with our friends in commercial aircraft and defense, we met with a number of companies in the eVTOL and space sectors, as well as other local hometown brands such as Blue Origin and Microsoft.

Boeing Site Tour in Sheffield

Towards the latter end of the show, a number of us took a side trip to Sheffield where we had a very interesting visit to Boeing’s advanced manufacturing facility to see how rock star engineers are achieving greater efficiency in production through new technologies and innovative processes for producing wing flap actuators. They’ve also reimagined their supply chain to be more resilient and sustainable.

We also toured the adjacent Advanced Manufacturing Research Center (AMRC) to learn how it is supporting talent development with novel approaches for workforce training. The place is filled with robots, researchers and methods for capturing and analyzing data that will blow your mind. They’re really setting the bar for empowering top talent to produce the next innovation in aerospace.

Washington, D.C.

I was recently in the other Washington to promote the Greater Seattle region at the SelectUSA Investment Summit, which is the highest-profile event dedicated to promoting foreign direct investment (FDI) in the United States. The Investment Summit plays a vital role in attracting and facilitating business investment and job creation by raising awareness about the wide range of investment opportunities in the United States and enabling necessary direct connections between investors and U.S. economic development organizations (EDOs).

The United States is still the largest recipient of FDI in the world. 

FDI activity into and out of Greater Seattle and Washington State is as follows:

Greater SeattleWA State

The unique aspect of Washington State is that we are home to leading brands such as Amazon, Boeing, Costco, Microsoft, Paccar and Starbucks, which generate significant international economic activity in terms of capex, jobs, and total projects. Over the past 5 years, in fact, Amazon leads the nation in outbound FDI by capex, jobs, and projects created with Microsoft coming in at the #5 spot for total number of projects. The number of outbound jobs Amazon has generated globally is double the size of the #2 spot. For this five-year period, Washington State ranks #2 in the nation for total capex, and #3 for total jobs and projects created with Greater Seattle generating 98% of the state’s outbound projects.

I provide more detail here.

It was an honor to meet the Ambassador of Japan at his residence, Secretary of Commerce, Gina Raimondo, Executive Director of SelectUSA, Jasjit Singh, and many other businesses and colleagues in the economic development community.

The intersection of work and lifestyle: Seattle, Washington