Mike Fong, former Seattle City Hall official, to run regional office of Small Business Administration

Mike Fong, a veteran staffer to Seattle-area politicians, will be the new director of the U.S. Small Business Administration’s Region 10 office in Seattle, the White House announced Thursday.

Fong, who stepped down in August as deputy mayor of Seattle to run Snohomish County’s pandemic recovery, will now oversee federal efforts aimed at helping small business recovery in Washington, Idaho, Oregon and Alaska.

“Small businesses are the engine of our economy and this is an incredible opportunity to support their needs as part of our nation’s recovery from the pandemic,” Fong said in a statement.

Fong has been in local government since 2001, beginning as a Seattle City Council staffer, and has held policy and leadership roles since, according to Fong’s LinkedIn page.

He served as chief of staff under former Mayor Ed Murray until 2017. Following a three-month stint as chief operating officer at King County, Fong became deputy mayor under Jenny Durkan, where he led the mayor’s staff.

Fong, who was born and raised in Spokane, was the first Chinese American to serve as deputy mayor in Seattle, according to the White House statement.

Most recently, as Snohomish County’s chief recovery and resilience officer, he led “efforts to prioritize the region’s $160M allocation of American Rescue Plan Act funds for recovery from the pandemic,” according to the White House.

The SBA has handled key parts of the federal pandemic response, including the Paycheck Protection Program and the Restaurant Recovery Fund. Those programs are widely seen as critical to recovery efforts, but have also been criticized as being slow and underfunded.

Seattle-area business leaders lauded Fong’s appointment to SBA.

“Over the past two years, Mike Fong has been dedicated to guiding our community through the pandemic and ensuring that the public sector is intentionally laying the groundwork for a robust, equitable, and inclusive economic recovery,” Rachel Smith, president and CEO of the Seattle Metro Chamber of Commerce, said in a statement. “That includes making sure that small businesses have the resources and support they need.”

Fong succeeds Jeremy Field, who left the agency in January.

CORRECTION: An earlier version of this article incorrectly stated that Fong replaces Kerrie Hurd. Hurd is director of the SBA’s Seattle district office.