Betty Nokes Capestany is moving on from her position as president and CEO of the Bellevue Chamber of Commerce after 17 years, the Chamber announced in a statement yesterday.

Capestany has been selected to serve as Pierce County’s new economic development director, and joined the county’s staff earlier this week.

Betty Capestany, Bellevue Chamber

Betty Nokes Capestany. Photo by Rachel Coward.

“Betty leaves the Chamber as a healthy, robust, and prosperous organization,” James Hill, chairman of the Bellevue Chamber of Commerce Board, said in a statement yesterday. “She has been a visionary leader and has helped transform our community and the entire eastside region through two challenging economic cycles and unprecedented growth. Today, Bellevue ranks among the most vibrant business communities in the country.”

Capestany helped guide Bellevue through two difficult economic periods — the shuttering of internet startups and the great recession. During the nearly two decades she spent in the city, 3 million square feet of new class A office space was added, thousands of jobs were created, and billions of dollars were invested.

In a farewell statement to the Bellevue Chamber, Capestany described the city’s transformation from a FIRES-driven region (finance, insurance, real estate, and services) into a massive technology hub.

“Bellevue has gone from “holes in the ground” to one of the most vibrant cities in the country,” she said in the statement. “There are so many efforts in the pipeline that I know Bellevue will continue to prosper and be a strong regional leader. I look forward to celebrating in your continued success.”

Capestany’s additional work experience includes serving as the director of economic development for the City of Renton and the president and CEO of the Greater Renton Chamber of Commerce.

“I am embarking on a new adventure as Economic Development Director for Pierce County,” Capestany said in a farewell statement to the Bellevue Chamber. “In this new role, I will have the opportunity to continue our work on larger regional strategies of attracting and retaining talent as well as transportation and other infrastructure issues.”

Chamber Business Resource Manager Kim Fredericks will temporarily take over as acting president while the organization searches for Capestany’s permanent replacement. The Chamber hopes to hire a new president and CEO by early fall.