Governor Jay Inslee appointed Shelly Baldwin as Director of the Washington Traffic Safety Commission (WTSC), effective February 16. Ms. Baldwin is the first woman to serve as Director of WTSC since its formation in 1967.
“I am pleased to appoint Shelly Baldwin to this position. She knows the agency well and her leadership will help the agency continue to fulfill their crucial mission. Shelly has played a critical role in leading and implementing a variety of traffic safety improvements and brings both a strong understanding of state and federal traffic safety best practices, and a passion for growing traffic safety for all Washingtonians to the director position,” said Governor Inslee. “I also want to thank acting director Pam Pannkuk for her service over the past 10 months leading the Traffic Safety Commission. She has gracefully and successfully led the agency through these unprecedented times with resilient leadership and a unique depth of knowledge. I am pleased she will continue to serve the agency as the deputy director, and I know that Shelly and Pam will make a great team.”
The WTSC is Washington’s designated highway safety office. The WTSC Director is the Governor’s Highway Safety Representative, which is a designated position each state is required to have to qualify for federal traffic safety funding.
“I am honored and humbled to accept the position of Director of the Washington Traffic Safety Commission,” Baldwin said. “This little agency has made a big impact on the lives of Washingtonians, including mine.”
Ms. Baldwin has worked with WTSC in various roles for more than 25 years, and has a deep commitment to partnerships, inclusiveness, multicultural engagement, and proactive traffic safety culture. She began as a contractor in the mid-1990s where, among other things, she managed the writing and production of the earliest editions of Washington’s Strategic Highway Safety Plan known as Target Zero.
Ms. Baldwin was hired as a full time WTSC employee in 2007 to manage the impaired driving program. She was responsible for coordinating the Washington Impaired Driving Advisory Council (WIDAC) with stakeholders who encompass policy, prevention, law enforcement, prosecution, judges, probation officers, public health, licensing, and treatment and rehabilitation. She advocated for impaired driving policies and legislation such as establishing ignition interlocks driver’s licenses for DUI offenders.
Since 2014, Ms. Baldwin has served as Director of WTSC’s Legislative and Media Relations division. She led the development of the agency’s legislative agenda in collaboration with commissioners, the Governor’s office, other state agencies, community partners, and citizen advocates. She also led the agency in adopting a proactive traffic safety culture approach to its messaging and programs.
Having worked directly with traffic crash survivors and families of traffic crash victims, Ms. Baldwin understands deeply the importance of this work. Her personal commitment to service aligns perfectly with the WTSC’s vision of zero traffic deaths and serious injuries.
Ms. Baldwin graduated with a degree in English and Business from Washington State University. She has two adult daughters and resides in Olympia with her husband, Gordon.