Office of Economic Opportunity & Creative Economy
Meet The Directors
Kate Becker is the Creative Economy Director in King County Executive Dow Constantine’s Office. Building sustainable creative communities has been at the core of Kate’s career. Kate currently spends her days (and nights!) working to build King County's creative economy, keenly focused on the film, music, and events industries.
Prior to joining Executive Constantine’s Office, Kate served as the Director of the City of Seattle Office of Film + Music. She has also served in leadership roles at Seattle Theatre Group, Art Share LA in Los Angeles, and The New Art Center in Boston, MA. She co-founded legendary Northwest all-ages venues The Vera Project and the Old Fire House, talent pipelines for the music industry.
Kate has produced more than 1,000 all ages shows and numerous large-scale events and fundraisers. She also founded the Old Fire House Media Lab, ensuring that emerging filmmakers and musicians have access to studio space. She loves startup culture and founded two small businesses and two nonprofits. Kate was a charter member of the Seattle Music Commission and serves on the board of Music Policy Forum and NFFTY (National Film Festival for Talented Youth)
Ashton Allison is economic development and economic recovery director at King County Executive Dow Constantine's Office. Ashton brings over 18 years of diverse economic development experience in the private, public, and nonprofit sectors. He is also a Certified Economic Developer through the International Economic Development Council and pursuing his Economic Development Certificate at the Harvard Kennedy School.
Ashton’s most recent role was as the director of business retention and expansion at the Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce (Chamber). Ashton was responsible for leading the King County Associate Development Organization (ADO) and working with private and public sector partners to conduct effective business outreach, assistance - and most recently, the COVID-19 emergency response.
Prior to his time at the Chamber, Ashton served as a consultant with TIP Strategies, an economic development consulting firm. He managed strategic planning projects across the US, including several projects in Washington State. Ashton's background also includes previous positions as a public sector economic development practitioner, nonprofit entrepreneur support organization director, and marketing agency account manager.
What We Are Working On
Harbor Island Studios
On April 3, 2021, King County Executive Dow Constantine unveiled Harbor Island Studios. This newly renovated warehouse, previously underutilized, has been adapted into a film production facility. Several hundred film professionals in union wage jobs were hired for the studio’s first production. Currently, Harbor Island Studios is closed for further improvements, and will reopen in April 2023.
Owned by King County, this studio will continue to provide a facility for local, living-wage jobs in the film industry. Fifteen film professionals serve on the Executive’s Film Advisory Board, offering their insights and experience to inform the development of this much needed addition to our film industry infrastructure.
Learn more about opportunities in the Creative Economy here, including job opportunities, grants, new projects and more.
Cloudbreak Music Festival
King County Business Assistance
In partnership with the Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce, we are growing the regional economy by helping our most vulnerable businesses across the County survive, recover, and thrive. Resources are being invested to support a collaborative, sub-regional business retention-expansion plan. Executive Constantine and the King County Council have allocated funding to help businesses disproportionately impacted by the pandemic to open their doors and get back in business.
Regional Workforce Development Strategy
Our regional workforce development strategy is led by the Workforce Development Council of King County. Executive Constantine serves as one of two Chief Local Elected Officials on this board, which strives to expand career pathways for adults and youth through demand-driven workforce and training programs. The Board of Directors recently set a new vision for our workforce development system to support an equity-centered and industry-driven approach. This vision centers racial justice and seeks to address other inequities that prevent economic opportunity and inclusion in our region.
King County Aerospace Alliance
Convened by Executive Constantine over a decade ago, the King County Aerospace Alliance unites local jurisdictions, public sector groups, business and labor toward one goal—fostering the long-term economic vitality, growth and global competitiveness of the local aerospace industry—a major and indispensable source of family-wage jobs in King County. Learn more here.
Local Food Economy
Launched in 2014, the Executive's Local Food Initiative is expanding the local food economy to ensure job growth and economic viability for King County food businesses and farms. The initiative is focused on improving access to healthy, affordable food in low-income communities. Learn more here.
Regional Business Attraction and Marketing
The first of its kind public-private regional economic development partnership, King County is working with Greater Seattle Partners to drive international and domestic investment and quality jobs into the region to create and sustain opportunity and prosperity for all. King County is a founding investor and Executive Constantine serves on the board and Executive Council.