KEDA Announces Three New Hires in Economic Development, Innovation

KEDA Announces Three New Hires in Economic Development, Innovation Main Photo

19 Sep 2022

Kitsap, Economy, ScaleUp, NEWS RELEASE, WAV-C


KEDA Hires Three New Employees

September 19, 2022

Contact: Theresa Mangrum

SILVERDALE, WA – The Kitsap Economic Development Alliance (“KEDA”) has hired three new team members: One in economic development addressing county-wide issues in business retention and expansion, and two to fully staff its maritime autonomy and innovation program, “WAV-C.”


James Davis, KEDA Economic Development Manager

James Davis
KEDA Economic
Development Manager

Rochelle LeMay WAV-C Business  Development Manager

Rochelle LeMay
WAV-C Business 
Development Manager

Seth Abelson WAV-C Program Manager

Seth Abelson
WAV-C Program Manager


James Davis joins KEDA as the organization’s new Economic Development Manager. He comes to KEDA after most recently serving as Business Development and ScaleUp Program Manager for Thurston Economic Development Council. Davis brings with him a strong background in program management, business development and community building: At Thurston, Davis led the team that developed the ScaleUp business program. It trained more than 600 small business owners statewide during the pandemic. A lifelong Washingtonian, Davis has a passion for Washington small businesses and entrepreneurs as well as building resilient and inclusive communities. "I truly believe Kitsap is on the verge of breaking out as a hub of innovation in Washington State,” Davis said. “I am honored to be joining KEDA at such a juncture, to be part of this exciting chapter in Kitsap history." 

KEDA’s other two new hires fully staff its innovation program in maritime autonomy, the Washington Autonomous Vehicle Cluster (“WAV-C”). A program at KEDA that’s funded by a $500,000 grant from the Washington Department of Commerce under its Innovation Cluster Accelerator Program, Seth Abelson joins WAV-C as the Program Manager helming the effort, while Rochelle LeMay is the Business Development Manager focused on growing membership and partnerships. 

Abelson comes to WAV-C after a wide-ranging 25-year career that includes business and startup consulting, and working in high technology areas such as telecoms and medical innovation. Abelson’s experience includes business development, finance and process innovation. His consulting engagements have focused on strengthening institutional relationships, growing corporate alliances, and managing revenue sources and risk. Abelson is a proud George Mason University alum and a lifetime member of the Delta Mu Delta Honor Society. 

“Our goal at WAV-C is certainly ambitious. It’s to bring together startups, corporations, capital sources and others in high-technology work that can add value to Washington’s future economy and the growing market of autonomous maritime vehicles,” Abelson said. 

LeMay joins WAV-C as the program’s Business Development Manager after most recently serving as the Executive for Membership Development and Fundraising for LeMay – America’s Car Museum. With over 15 years of experience in fostering organizational and revenue growth at both for-profits and non-profits, LeMay is excited to contribute her marketing, business development, and communication skills to WAV-C. “It’s really exciting to be here, doing something totally new, focusing on the growth and success of the WAV-C cluster and its members,” LeMay said. “I’m from Kitsap and dedicated to seeing economic growth here in the PNW.”

KEDA’s three new hires will all have roles at KEDA’s upcoming conference “Fall Forum: Level Up,” held October 20 from 1-5 p.m. at the Kitsap Conference Center at Bremerton Harborside. Discounted early bird pricing for the event ($85 for KEDA Investors, $115 for general admission) ends October 2. Find out more about economic development in Kitsap and register to attend at  


Founded in 1983, the Kitsap Economic Development Alliance focuses on partnering with business and government to retain, expand and attract employers to Kitsap. The organization focuses on holistically developing Kitsap’s economy across its various geographies and communities to ensure healthy growth and a desirable quality of life. For more information, visit