Industry sector

Commerce appoints Alison Beason and Carolyn Busch as Industry Sector Directors

Beason leads the development of the state’s life sciences and global health sector; Busch takes on new role to lead workforce innovation and industry sector programs

OLYMPIA, WA — The Washington State Department of Commerce’s Office of Economic Development and Competitiveness appointed two new sector directors this month. Alison Raison joined the team in January as Director/Sector Leader for Life Sciences and Global Health for the Life Sciences and Global Health industry. carolina Busch was appointed to the new role of Director of Workforce Innovation and Industry Sector Program Coordinator.

“We are delighted that Alison and Carolyn have chosen to bring their deep experience, accomplishments and passion for public service to strengthen our industrial sector development work at Commerce,” said Lisa Brown, Director of Commerce. “In particular, their dedication to equity is directly aligned with our mission to strengthen communities by expanding opportunities for all business owners and entrepreneurs in all regions of Washington State.”

Alison Beauson

Beason comes to Commerce with more than 20 years of public service experience. She will lead efforts to advance Governor Jay Inslee’s ongoing work to grow and strengthen science communities through statewide industrial sector development strategies.

Prior to joining Commerce, Beason was integral to building equity, diversity and inclusion in the City of Tacoma and the Port of Seattle. At the port, his work focused on strategic investments in small businesses and job creation in the South King County area. She created a fund of more than $10 million to revitalize communities that have historically been marginalized and disproportionately impacted during the COVID-19 pandemic. With the goal of helping policy makers and decision-makers make data-driven decisions to eliminate disparities in the communities they serve, she developed the first Equity Indexjust like she did for Tacoma.

Beason has also held strategic positions at the U.S. Office of Management and Budget, the National Science Foundation, the National Institutes of Health, and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. She holds a Master of Science in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology from Howard University School of Medicine and a Bachelor of Science in Biology, with a minor in Chemistry and Mathematics from Jarvis Christian College. She is a board member of Tacoma Arts Live and in her spare time enjoys international travel and the wine varietals of the Bordeaux region of France.

“The life sciences and global health sectors contribute more than $7 billion to Washington’s economy, and I look forward to working with Commerce, the Governor, and various leaders in industry to ensure this upward trajectory remains strong in the years to come,” Beason mentioned. “As we harness the power of our diversity to drive innovation and growth in research, commercialization and manufacturing will only strengthen Washington communities in the long run.”

Caroline Busch's photo

Caroline Busch

Busch takes on the new role of Director of Workforce Innovation and Industry Sector Program Coordinator at Commerce, adding to a 30-year career in public policy. She will lead the department’s work to address key labor shortages, underemployment, credential inflation, and gender and racially disparate work experiences – long-standing issues requiring thoughtful and inclusive solutions.

“I am delighted to be at Commerce and to work in the Office of Economic Development and Competitiveness. By earnestly pursuing innovative ideas to attract and retain the best workers for industries beleaguered economically due to the pandemic and generational and demographic shifts, we can create better opportunities for every person to thrive and thrive in their work. . Conversely, employers will benefit from the increased productivity that comes from employee ownership and well-being. This labor and workplace synergy supports the agency’s goal of increasing Washington’s share of high-growth, high-employment industries and business opportunities,” said Busch.

Prior to this role, Busch served as Special Projects Manager for the King County Human Resources Department and Chief of Staff for King County Council. She previously worked for the Washington State Senate Democratic Caucus, first as a policy analyst for the budget and taxes and finally as chief of staff. Busch’s other public policy work includes higher education policy at the University of Washington, as well as advising Governors Gardner and Locke on kindergarten and higher education. Born and raised in Seattle, Busch earned a bachelor’s degree in political science and a master’s degree in public administration from the University of Washington. She enjoys spending time with her family, cooking, hiking, cross-country skiing and biking.

Beason can be reached at, (206) 256-6110 and Busch at, (206) 256-6140.