Economic Development 2023: CAREN MERRICK
SECRETARY OF COMMERCE AND TRADE, COMMONWEALTH OF VIRGINIA, RICHMOND
After 25 years as a Virginia business founder and leader, Merrick was appointed the commonwealth’s secretary of trade and commerce in early 2022, her first role in state government. She helped encourage Amazon Web Services to invest $35 billion to build multiple data center campuses across the state, an initiative announced in January. She also oversaw the launch of the state’s Compete to Win economic development policy, which aims to enhance the commonwealth’s workforce development and site inventory and infrastructure growth.
A graduate of the University of California, Los Angeles, she previously served as CEO of Gov. Glenn Youngkin’s nonprofit Virginia Ready initiative, which promotes workforce development. With her husband, serial entrepreneur Phillip Merrick, she co-founded software company webMethods, which was sold in 2007 for $546 million.
HOBBY/PASSION: Sailing, walking, reading and doing impersonations — I am working on Margaret Thatcher’s famous lecture to British Parliament on socialism!
IF I HAD A TIME MACHINE, I’D MEET: Marie Curie. She was the first woman to win a Nobel Prize, the first person to win a Nobel Prize twice, and the only person to win a Nobel in two scientific fields.