Executive Q+A

With grit and determination, Jim Kerr, who never finished college, has helped build D.A.

As Pacific Region executive and Seattle market president, Carol K. Nelson has been the face and voice of KeyBank in the Northwest since January 2015, delivering the capabilities of a large bank with the benefits of local decision making.

Since John Gabbert created PitchBook Data in 2007, the company's database has become indispensable to venture capitalists, equity investors and a broadening base of customers that includes consultants and salespeople.

Since taking over in 2015 as CEO of the Northwest Seaport Alliance, which administers the ports of Tacoma and Seattle, CEO John Wolfe has navigated stormy seas while simultaneously improving the operations of the fourth-largest container gateway in North America.

Harvey Kanter has taken Blue Nile, a struggling online jeweler, and returned it to a growth trajectory.

Leslie Alexandre, whose leadership of the state-funded North Carolina Biotechnology Center helped strengthen that state’s life sciences sector, hopes to revitalize Washington’s biotech sector as CEO and president of Life Science Washington.

Under Ed Murray, Seattle has become recognized nationally for promoting progressive policies like the $15 minimum wage, but he also sees the need for more centralization in the mayor’s office to implement better controls over the city’s large bureaucracy.

Larry W. “Chip” Hunter, a scholar of human resource management and industrial relations, became dean of Washington State University’s Carson College of Business in March 2015. He aims to make Carson College the premier place in the Northwest for an undergraduate business education.

Two years ago, when Urban Renaissance Group acquired Seattle’s Touchstone Corporation in a billion-dollar deal, Touchstone’s founders began transitioning out of the firm and installed A-P Hurd as president and chief development officer.

Mark Mader developed a passion for technology by observing how businesses make choices based on many variables. In nearly 11 years at Smartsheet, Mader has directed that passion toward making the ubiquitous spreadsheet less of a loathsome tool and more of a friendly facilitator via work collaboration software.