Find Posts By Topic

Sam Cho to Join Office of Mayor Bruce Harrell as Director of Strategic Initiatives

Experienced champion for economic development, policy leader, and community advocate will advance key City initiatives to expand access to opportunity.

Seattle – Today, Mayor Bruce Harrell announced that Sam Cho will serve as Director of Strategic Initiatives in the Mayor’s Office. Elected to the Port of Seattle Commission in 2019 and currently serving as Commission President, Cho brings a decade of experience in public policy and economic development to Mayor Harrell’s administration.

“As we look to build the Seattle of the future with a cutting-edge economy rooted in equitable growth and expanded opportunity for every neighbor, Sam Cho brings the proven experience we need to ensure our efforts are forward-thinking, innovative, sustainable, and inclusive,” said Mayor Harrell. “As the Director of Strategic Initiatives, Sam Cho will deliver progress on our agenda for an ambitious future for Downtown Seattle, support for local small businesses and vibrant neighborhoods, and generational wealth-building opportunities for communities historically left out. Sam shares our One Seattle vision for a city where every resident has the tools and support needed to reach their full potential and thrive.”

“I’m honored to be joining the Harrell administration to help execute the Mayor’s vision for One Seattle,” said Cho.As the son of immigrants to Seattle whose parents owned a small business, building wealth in historically under-served communities is a crucial part of that vision. As one of the fastest-growing cities in the country, I look forward to ensuring that economic opportunity reaches every corner of our city.  We also have in our midst, a once-in-a-generation opportunity to transform our city center; and I look forward to working with stakeholders and community members to create a downtown we can all be proud of.”

As the Director of Strategic Initiatives, Cho will work on advancing Mayor Harrell’s Downtown Activation Plan (DAP), a comprehensive set of legislative, regulatory, and programmatic efforts to revitalize and transform the city’s center. The plan balances short-term steps and long-term systemic changes to create the Downtown Seattle of the future.

He will also work on strengthening Seattle’s economy through trade, small business growth, and new business attraction, working with the Office of Economic Development and other business partners. This includes overseeing the implementation of the Liberty Project, an innovative business growth program focused on increasing revenues for businesses owned by entrepreneurs of color.

In addition to his elected role as Port of Seattle Commission President, Cho currently works to expand access to clean energy solutions and battery charging stations. Cho previously served as the Founder and CEO of Seven Seas Export, an international trading company that exported American poultry products to Asia. Earlier in his career, Cho held positions at the US Department of State as an analyst, in Congress as an aide, and was a political appointee under President Barack Obama. 

Cho also serves on the Advisory Council for the Asian Pacific American Institute for Congressional Studies (APAICS), and the Asia Society Seattle, and sits on the Board of Directors for the Seattle Symphony, Verity Credit Union, and Greater Seattle Partners. He is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. He earned his Bachelor’s degree from American University and a Master’s of Science from The London School of Economics. 

Cho will begin his role at the Mayor’s Office in September. He will retain his role as Port Commissioner and recuse himself from procedures when potential conflicts of interest arise following the process outlined in the Code of Ethics for Port Commissioners.

Headshot of Sam Cho.