Gov. Jay Inslee has appointed Kendrick Stewart interim director of the Washington State Department of Commerce effective March 4, when Lisa Brown steps down from the post she held the last four years. Stewart currently serves as deputy director of the agency’s Organizational Health, Equity and Performance Division.
“Kendrick is an effective, forward-looking leader whose experience with Commerce will help him lead the department through this transition,” Inslee said. “I also want to reiterate my thanks to Lisa Brown for all she contributed to the department and the state’s economic development these last four years.”
“Kendrick has been an incredible partner and indispensable member of our executive team as we’ve navigated some of the greatest challenges the department has ever faced,” said outgoing Director Lisa Brown. “From the impact of the pandemic on the communities and businesses we serve and our own staff to a doubling of the size of our program portfolio in a couple of years, we never missed a beat. That is in large part because of Kendrick’s strong and compassionate leadership.”
A public servant for more than 20 years, including several prior years in leadership at Commerce, Stewart (he/him) returned to the agency in February 2020 to lead the agency’s internal operations, with a specific focus on organizational health, equity and performance. He has a passion for learning what motivates people, collaborative problem-solving and service. He is committed to community building and aspires to ensure all Commerce employees feel valued for who they are. Stewart holds a bachelor’s degree in liberal arts from Colorado State University and a master’s of public administration from the University of Washington.
No timeframe has been set for announcing a permanent appointment to the position.
Commerce works with local governments, businesses, community-based organizations and tribes to strengthen communities. The department’s diverse portfolio of more than 100 programs and effective public and private partnerships promote sustainable community and economic development to help all Washingtonians thrive. For more information, visit the Department of Commerce website.