Susan Ashe is the Executive Director of the Health Sciences & Services Authority (HSSA) of Spokane County, an organization that invests funds in bio- and health sciences research and infrastructure to encourage bioscience-based economic development. In addition, a portion of HSSA funding supports increasing access to health care for vulnerable populations in the county. To date, HSSA has invested over $8 million creating 500 jobs and over $100 million in local economic activity.
Prior to consulting with the HSSA and subsequently being named its Executive Director, Ashe had started her own successful public affairs small business. She brings over 30 years of public affairs experience and success to both the private and public sectors.
Ashe served as the Director of Legislative Affairs for the City of Spokane where in just over five years she raised nearly $125 million in state and federal funding for many familiar city infrastructure projects such as the Riverside Avenue extension (Martin Luther King, Jr. Way), Fish Lake Trail, Monroe and Freya streets bridges, and design work for the then proposed University District Pedestrian Bridge. She also raised $2 million to extend high speed broadband “gigapop” to Spokane from Seattle. In 2004, she managed a successful $117 million street bond campaign that had failed three times previously. During her tenure at the City she worked for four mayors.
Ashe spent 24 years with Kaiser Aluminum, the last 10 years as its Regional Public Affairs Manager for four aluminum production and manufacturing plants in Washington State with over 3,000 employees. She directed the $1.5 million annual regional public affairs effort for the company, which included government and community relations and all forms of communications. She led a successful community effort that sought a written guidance by the EPA on windborne dust that impacted air quality in Spokane over which the community had no control, and identified the areas that could be controlled to improve air quality without unnecessary costs.
Susan Ashe has been active in her community and region serving on boards such as Life Science Washington, the Spokane Public Schools Foundation, the University District Board, and former Board Chair of the YWCA of Spokane. She chaired the 2015 annual YWCA Women of Achievement fundraiser at which record funds were raised. Ashe served on Mayor David Condon’s Transition Team and was appointed by the Mayor to serve on the Spokane Civic Benefit Fund, established by David and Kristin Condon.
She formerly served on the boards of the Association of Washington Business, where she was awarded the AWB “Heavy Lifter” award in 2002, and Greater Spokane Incorporated (GSI), where she serves on its Public Policy Council and remains active in life science matters. She is a former member of the GSI Board, and an alumni of Leadership Spokane.
In 2019 Ashe was named a YWCA Woman of Achievement for Community Enhancement. Prior to that in 2016 Ashe was selected to receive the Eastern Washington University Alumni Award for Service and was a nominee for the City of Spokane Citizen Hall of Fame. She also received a Pillar Award in 2019 for involvement in the successful regional End the Violence initiative.