Jewell is president and CEO of Recreational Equipment Inc., a retailer with $2 billion in annual sales based in Kent, Wash. She spent 19 years in the commercial banking industry before joining REI, the nation’s largest consumer cooperative, with more than 100 stores.
She graduated from the University of Washington in 1978 with a degree in mechanical engineering. She serves on the boards of the National Parks Conservation Association and the Initiative for Global Development.
In nominating a businesswoman with her breadth of experience, Obama pointed to Jewell as evidence that oil and gas production and environmental stewardship do not have to be mutually exclusive.
“She knows the link between conservation and good jobs,” he said. “She knows that there’s no contradiction between being good stewards of the land and our economic progress; that in fact, those two things need to go hand in hand.”
Lauren Gardner and Pam Radtke Russell contributed to this report.
Terri Henderson, 6, center, whose mother is El Salvador, attends a rally with members of Congress at Union Station's Columbus Circle to announce the Restore Opportunity, Strengthen, and Improve the Economy (ROSIE) Act on July 29, 2014. The legislation provides incentives for government contractors to pay a living wage and other benefits that would help low-income workers.