Inslee picks Spokane woman to pilot state aerospace policy

Robin Toth will lead the effort to convince Boeing to build its next new airplane in the state.

Robin Toth

Robin Toth

OLYMPIA — A leader of a Spokane economic development group was named Monday as Gov. Jay Inslee’s chief adviser on aerospace policy.

Robin Toth, the former vice president of business development for Greater Spokane Inc., will begin work Thursday as head of the governor’s Office of Aerospace, which is housed in the state Department of Commerce. Her salary will be $105,000 per year.

She will help steer the state’s efforts to bolster an industry that largely orbits around the Boeing Co. Toth already sits on the New Middle-Market Airplane Executive Council, a panel of public- and private-sector leaders working to convince Boeing to build its next jetliner model in Washington.

In a statement, Inslee said Toth’s work in economic and business development has already benefited the state’s aerospace industry.

“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,” he said.

Toth, who is also a former board member of the Aerospace Futures Alliance, said she will 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.”

Kelly Maloney, president and CEO of the Aerospace Futures Alliance and the Washington State Space Coalition, praised the selection.

“Robin’s depth of experience in aerospace-related economic development is rounded out by her experience in government and participation in workforce development initiatives,” Maloney said in a statement.

That background will help the state grow the aviation, space and unmanned-aerial-systems sectors in Washington, she said.

Toth will be filling a post that’s been vacant for nearly a year.

John Thornquist, an ex-Everett aerospace executive and former Boeing engineer, resigned in December 2017 after 19 months in the job.

Toth worked at Greater Spokane Inc. from January 2005 until early October. Before that, she served as economic development project manager for the city of Spokane. She studied transportation at Mount San Antonio College in Walnut, California, and business administration at Eastern Washington University.

Jerry Cornfield: 360-352-8623; jcornfield@herald Twitter: @dospueblos.

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