Gov. Jay Inslee today appointed Teresa Berntsen as director of the Department of Licensing. She will take over the role from Pat Kohler who recently announced her plans to step down at the end of June.
Berntsen is currently the director of the Office of Minority and Women’s Business Enterprises where she led the state’s efforts in increasing diversity in state procurements. Under her leadership, OMWBE made tremendous progress on reducing processing times and increasing the number of certified firms while maintaining a 97 percent customer satisfaction rating.
Prior to joining OMWBE, she served as deputy director of the Department of Licensing for more than four years, where she led efforts to modernize and improve efficiencies in the agency’s technology systems. Berntsen also worked as a policy advisor to Gov. Chris Gregoire on statewide transportation issues and as a non-partisan research analyst for the state House of Representatives.
Berntsen began her career in state government as a policy and rules coordinator with the Washington State Liquor Control Board.
“Teresa is well respected and known for her exceptional professionalism and commitment to public service. Her experience at DOL and her knowledge regarding transportation policy and equity issues are perfectly suited to what DOL needs at this moment,” Inslee said. “I’m confident she’ll build on the agency’s customer service improvements and help ensure successful implementation of the agency’s biggest initiatives including Real ID and its new DRIVES database system. I look forward to Teresa joining my cabinet.”
Berntsen has a bachelor’s degree in public administration and gender studies from The Evergreen State College.
Her appointment is effective July 1.