Today Mayor Ed Murray named Brian Surratt director of Seattle’s Office of Economic Development (OED). Surratt will replace Steve Johnson, who is stepping down after leading the department for the past six years.
“Brian has demonstrated strong leadership in support of Seattle’s workers and businesses,” said Murray. “He is a trusted advisor, and his contributions are helping businesses succeed and grow quality jobs. Seattle is a diverse, innovative, and globally connected community of businesses. We look forward to supporting an even more competitive and resilient economy that grows middle-class jobs.”
During the first 18 months of the Murray Administration, Surratt has served in the Mayor’s Office of Policy and Innovation as senior policy advisor on economic development issues. He helped guide the work of the Income Inequality Advisory Committee that developed the path to a $15 minimum wage. He also worked with regional partners to recruit and retain businesses in the city, including Juno Therapeutics. This year, Surratt was honored with a fellowship from the German Marshall Fund.
“I am honored by this opportunity to serve the Mayor and the city as director of the Office of Economic Development,” says Surratt. “Seattle is a special place that actively cultivates and attracts creative ideas and people that impact the world. Our entrepreneurs are growing the economy without sacrificing our values of shared prosperity. We want to foster an open and supportive environment for creating new jobs in robust business ventures.”
Before joining the Mayor’s Office, Surratt worked at OED for nearly a decade, including three years as deputy director. Previously, he helped launch a Portland software company, served as public affairs manager for First & Goal, Inc. and the Seattle Seahawks, along with stints at the South Downtown Foundation and with former State Representative and current State Treasurer Jim McIntire.
“The Chamber applauds Mayor Murray’s nomination of Brian Surratt as the next director of OED,” said Maud Daudon, CEO, Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce. “Brian is one of Seattle’s brightest emerging minds on economic development and understands the many challenges and opportunities facing Seattle’s business community.”
“I got to know Brian Surratt over the past year and a half during the Mayor’s Income Inequality Advisory Committee work,” said David Rolf, President, SEIU 775. “Brian played a remarkable role in working with labor, community and business leaders to help drive a challenging process which ultimately led to Seattle’s historic adoption of a path to a $15 minimum wage.”
“I have known Brian for 15 years and he has demonstrated his support for Seattle’s manufacturing and maritime communities. I look forward to working with the Mayor and Brian in the years ahead,” said Dave Gering, Executive Director, Manufacturing Industrial Council of Seattle.
“I’ve worked with Brian for eight years and in that time I’ve found him to be a balanced and effective public servant,” said David Freiboth, Executive Secretary Treasurer, Martin Luther King County Labor Council. “He is a true innovator when it comes to developing solutions to complex problems. The prospect of working with someone with Brian’s grasp of the economic complexities of Seattle is exciting.”
“Throughout his role in Mayor Murray’s office, Brian has consistently supported the success of Seattle restaurants,” said Angela Stowell, President, Seattle Restaurant Alliance and co-owner of Ethan Stowell Restaurants. “We hope to continue partnering with him and the Mayor to develop programs and initiatives that support, celebrate and grow Seattle’s restaurant and hospitality community.”
“Brian Surratt’s diverse range of experiences as a civic diplomat, policy wonk, corporate manager and tech entrepreneur make him an impressive choice to lead economic development for Seattle,” said Julie Pham, Vice President, Washington Technology Industry Association. “These roles, combined with his work on his mother’s restaurants and family’s cattle ranch, give Brian a unique perspective on developing and growing businesses of all sizes. WTIA looks forward to continuing our partnership with the Office of Economic Development now under Brian’s leadership to help generate new jobs across the entire region.”
Surratt joins OED on June 15 and will earn an annual salary of $132,000.
Steve Johnson started his career with the City during Mayor Norm Rice’s administration, when he helped consolidate City ownership of the Cedar River Watershed. At OED, he developed a number of innovative community and economic development programs, including the Rainier Valley Community Development Fund and partnerships with post-secondary education institutions and philanthropy to reimagine how to deliver education and training for low-income working adults.
“Steve has shown exemplary commitment to the people and City of Seattle,” said Murray. “I thank Steve for over two decades of public service, highlighted by the remaking of the Office of Economic Development. I appreciate his focus on direct service to individual businesses, strategic investments in the revitalization of our neighborhood business districts, and career advancement for working people. I wish him the best in his next chapter.”
“I’m both appreciative of the opportunity to serve in Mayor Murray’s administration and am looking forward to the next chapter in my life,” said Johnson. “The City must play an active role in economic development and I am thrilled at Brian’s appointment. He played an instrumental role in building this office and has the skills to help the Mayor achieve his vision. As for me, I intend to continue my work for the people of Seattle.”
Johnson will be stepping down to spend more time with family before pursuing other professional opportunities.