PULLMAN, Wash. – Amazon executive John Schoettler is returning to Washington State University, this time to serve on its Board of Regents.
Schoettler, who graduated from WSU in 1980, was appointed by Gov. Jay Inslee to the university’s governing board for a term that begins July 1.
“Never in a million years did I think I’d be asked to be a regent of Washington State University,” Schoettler said following the appointment. “I’m humbled and honored to have this opportunity.”
Schoettler serves as Amazon’s vice president of global real estate and facilities. He and his team manage millions of square feet of real estate across more than 50 countries.
“We are eager to welcome John to the Board of Regents and are excited for the addition of his professional expertise. His knowledge and passion will be an asset to the university,” Brett Blankenship, chair of the WSU Board of Regents, said.
A fateful return to WSU for the 1990 Apple Cup prompted Schoettler to consider the possibility of serving on the university’s Board of Regents. Talking with Lou Pepper, the father of a lifelong friend of Schoettler, inspired him to consider getting involved with WSU in a more substantial way.
“I want to engage with students, understand what their priorities are and understand how regents can help facilitate that vital dialogue, especially now during this time of learning and reflection in the wake of the death of George Floyd and the subsequent examination of systemic racism and inequality,” Schoettler said.
After graduating from Clover Park High School in Lakewood, Washington, Schoettler enrolled at WSU and pledged Sigma Chi, the same fraternity as his father and older brother.
During his time with Amazon, Schoettler and his team have expanded the company’s real estate portfolio from about 1 million square feet to more than 40 million square feet, including the company’s campus in Seattle that helped transform South Lake Union into a thriving hub for innovation now home to tens of thousands of tech jobs. He also has helped to grow Amazon’s community engagement footprint in Seattle, working with members of his team to collaborate with Seattle nonprofit Mary’s Place to provide shelter for families fighting homelessness.
Initially, Amazon provided space for Mary’s Place to use as temporary shelter in a former Cornish College of the Arts dormitory. After redeveloping that land, Amazon worked closely with Mary’s Place to develop a first of its kind permanent shelter for the nonprofit to use rent-free inside one of Amazon’s Seattle HQ office buildings. The Mary’s Place Family Center in The Regrade opened in early March, right when the coronavirus hit Seattle. It spans eight floors, more than 63,000 square feet, and has space to safely accommodate up to 200 family members each night. The new facility has also tripled the size of the Mary’s Place Popsicle Place program, which provides shelter and support for families experiencing homelessness with medically-fragile children.
“It’s a more than $100 million commitment over the next ten years, but they have it as long as they need it,” Schoettler said.
In addition to his work at Amazon, Schoettler serves on the boards of the Greater Seattle Chamber of Commerce – having previously chaired the organization – as well as the Downtown Seattle Association and Cascade Public Media, KCTS9
He will succeed Mike Worthy, who has served on the WSU Board of Regents since 2006.
- Phil Weiler, vice president for marketing and communications, 509‑335‑1221, email@example.com