Managing Director, Portland Office
Ms. Garrison takes a vision and makes it reality through sound strategy development. She has a strong background working with agencies, organizations, businesses and individuals engaged in strategic business development efforts and policy efforts. She can quickly understand an industry (bioscience, semiconductors, renewable energy),
the key players, and the drivers in those industries. Most importantly she knows how to help businesses overcome obstacles or take advantage of opportunities.
She intuitively sees the threads of opportunity that wind through an organization and/or an industry, brings them together into a coherent whole, helps others understand what drives a material business advantage. She is an inspirational leader who tells stories that inspire action while at the same time is grounded in financial information that levers the business. She is a connector, a resource, and a respected leader in business and economic development.
Ms. Garrison joined the Pacific Northwest Defense Coalition (PNDC) as the President & CEO in March 2018 to drive both the growth and the mission of the organization. PNDC, founded in 2005, is an aerospace and defense trade group that aims to help Northwest businesses win more federal defense and security contracts. The organization also helps Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) and prime contractors connect with aerospace, defense and security suppliers throughout the Pacific Northwest.
Before coming to PNDC, Ms. Garrison was the Director of Government Affairs in Comcast’s External Affairs team where she was responsible for local government public policy, franchising and regulatory matters for local franchise areas in Oregon. She developed and maintained relationships with government representatives and regulators at the federal, state, and local level and was one of the “faces and voices” representing Comcast to communities and businesses in the region.
Befvore joining Comcast, Ms. Garrison was the City of Hillsboro’s Economic Development Manager for 8 years and prior to that she was a senior Business Development Officer for the State of Oregon’s Economic Development Department (“Business Oregon”) for 11 years - specializing in high tech industries, including bioscience, semiconductor & electronics, communications and information technology, solar and wind energy projects. She worked closely with businesses seeking to expand or locate in Oregon with site selection/evaluation, financial packaging, economic incentives, troubleshooting, and coordination with other local, state or federal agencies. Successful recruitment & expansion projects include Adobe, Genentech, LinkedIn, TriQuint Semiconductor, Salesforce.com, and SolarWorld.
Prior to her governmental experience, Ms. Garrison worked in the private sector for over 15 years. As a consultant, she provided customized economic research, policy analysis and development planning services to both public and private sector clients throughout the United States. She also established and managed a travel research department at the American Automobile Association’s National Headquarters in Orlando, Florida where she was primarily responsible for researching travel patterns that influenced the demand for and development of new AAA’s products and services.
In 2012, Ms. Garrison was named the “Economic Development Professional of the Year” by the Oregon Economic Development Association (OEDA). In 2015, she served as the President of OEDA. She served on the founding Board of Directors for the 7x24 Exchange - Oregon and SW Washington Chapter, and in 2017 was awarded their Lifetime Achievement Award. In 2018, Ms. Garrison was inducted as an “Honorary Commander” of the Oregon Air National Guard, 142nd Fighter Wing.
Sarah holds a Bachelor’s Degree from the University of Georgia in Economics.