GSI hires Cara Coon; Toth moves to Commerce

Monday, October 29, 2018

Greater Spokane Inc., Spokane's combined chamber of commerce and economic development agency, said it has hired Cara Coon as its new public affairs director. Coon previously served as government affairs director at Umpqua Bank.


Robin Toth, former vice president at Greater Spokane, Inc., will head the state’s public-private collaborative efforts to grow aerospace in Washington; Julia Terlinchamp leaves Gov. Inslee staff to lead life sciences/global health sector development.

OLYMPIA – The Washington State Department of Commerce announced today that Robin Toth and Julia Terlinchamp are the newest members of the state’s team leading strategic economic development in eight key industry sectors. Based in Commerce, industry sector leads are part of a collaborative approach to economic development that brings together state, local, private industry, education and workforce resources to cultivate growth opportunities statewide.

“Robin’s leadership has already benefited and grown the aerospace industry sector; she knows these issues and has a deep understanding of economic and business development. She will help us continue to ensure that Washington is the best place to build airplanes and preserve thousands of family-wage jobs for generations to come,” Inslee said. “Through her work as my community representative in Northwest Washington, Julia consistently demonstrated that she is very skilled at building and developing relationships. Her strategic and collaborative approach will help this crucial and growing sector to continue to save lives, partner for innovation, and attract resources and top talent. She will be missed in the governor’s office but I look forward to working with her in this new capacity.”

“I’m delighted to welcome Robin and Julia to the Commerce team. They each have outstanding experience, relationships and skills that will enhance our efforts to strengthen communities through more strategic economic development. Our industry sector leads provide an effective hub for assembling diverse public, private, state and local resources to create good jobs throughout the state,” said Commerce Director Brian Bonlender.

Robin Toth, a member of the Gov. Inslee’s New Middle-Market Airplane (NMA) Executive Council and former board member of the Aerospace Futures Alliance, will lead the state’s efforts to develop and grow Washington’s $69-billion aerospace industry sector. Toth comes to Commerce from Greater Spokane, Incorporated, where she served as vice president of business development. Prior to that, she was economic development project manager for the city of Spokane and has deep business and marketing experience with Ciena, Alcatel, Itron and others. Toth serves on a number of boards including Spokane Area Workforce Development Council, Inland Northwest Economic Alliance, and administrator for the Spokane Innovation Partnership Zone. She studied transportation at Mt. San Antonio College in Walnut, California, and business administration at Eastern Washington University, where she earned the Sarah Hunt Potter Scholarship.

“Robin’s depth of experience in aerospace related economic development is rounded out by her experience in government and participation in workforce development initiatives. Her background will serve the state and the aerospace industry well to help grow and strengthen commercial and defense aviation, space and unmanned aerial systems (UAS) sectors,” said Kelly Maloney, president and CEO of the Aerospace Futures Alliance and the Washington State Space Coalition.

“I am excited to join Commerce and look forward to bringing my experience in international aerospace business development to the team,” Toth said.  “Washington has the most efficient and innovative aerospace supply chain in the world and I’ll be focused on partnering with the aerospace community on competing to keep Washington in a league of its own for the next generation of aircraft manufacturing and jobs.“

Aerospace employs over 136,000 people In Washington, where nearly 90 percent of all commercial aircraft in North America are manufactured.  Two separate independent studies place Washington #1 among all states for aerospace design, manufacturing and assembly.