GeekWire recently caught up with our CEO, Brian Surratt to talk about our regional economic development focus, public and private partnerships that are helping us achieve more equitable growth, and how we project to the world. We all have a role to play.
Brian Surratt spent 13 years working for the City of Seattle, including 2 1/2 leading the agency focused on the city’s economic development. In a new role he’s held for seven months, Surratt is still concerned with growth, but his focus has turned regional.
Surratt is the CEO and president of Greater Seattle Partners, a public-private sector initiative that seeks to attract investment, companies and quality jobs in the region that includes Seattle, Bellevue, Everett, Tacoma and numerous points in between.
“I’ve spent the first several months on the job getting a deeper understanding of the ambitions of other parts of the region,” Surratt said in a recent video chat with GeekWire. “Where do they want to go? How do we tell our story collectively as a region?”
He said the role has widened his eyes and given him a deeper appreciation for what might draw someone to the region other than Seattle and its status as a leading tech hub. And GSP’s aim is to get that story out beyond the upper left corner of the country.
“In order for us to be successful we have to project to the world,” Surratt said. “The things that we create here, the people that we bring into our region, they’re successful because they understand there’s global success to be had.”
We recently caught up with Surratt and covered several topics, including:
- Amazon’s impact: “This has been a net positive several times over to have Amazon in this region and continue to grow.”
- Recruiting companies to Seattle: “We’ve got to examine opportunities to expand job centers throughout the region, it doesn’t have to just be Seattle and Bellevue. We need to figure out as we grow, how do make sure that our jobs are dispersed and we meet people where they are.
- Life sciences sector: “We’re starting to creep into that that top-tier region with life sciences. We now actually have a level of depth and diversity in life sciences that we haven’t had really ever in this region.”
Keep reading for more from this GeekWire Q&A, which has been edited for brevity and clarity.