How does it feel to be the new Chamber President/CEO?
It’s really an amazing feeling to be back in Jefferson City again! It’s especially great to reconnect with old friends and meet new and emerging business leaders as well. Half of the Chamber staff are great people I actually hired over 20 years ago, which helps with my transition. The other half of the staff are also very dedicated to their work.
What is your professional background?
I started out wanting to be a journalist and worked for a small daily in my hometown in Shenandoah, Iowa during high school and college. My first chamber job was in Shenandoah at the tender age of 21 and chamber work has been my career of choice ever since. I think what has kept me enjoying this field for so long has been the opportunity to work with the best and brightest leaders from both the private and public sectors.
Please share a little bit about yourself:
I grew up in Iowa and graduated from Northwest Missouri State University. I have four children and the two youngest lived with us during COVID. Those two boys, Sam and Ethan, get their entrepreneurial spirit from my wife Dana, whose family ran Pizza Kwik in Jefferson City for 50 years. The boys and Dana recently reopened Pizza Kwik as a food trailer and have been doing a lot of business here in Jefferson City, which was another reason why I sought the Chamber job here.
What do you see as the primary focus for the Chamber?
Our chair Jeff Davidson, in a recent column, talked about a renewed focus on the Chamber’s mission: To promote economic vitality and strength in the area and be a leading public policy advocate for business; to provide services to our members; and partner in activities that improve the economy and quality of life.
What other top priorities do you see for the Chamber?
First and foremost, the Chamber’s here to serve our members, which comes down to identifying and addressing their needs. If we do that well, then the goal of growing Chamber membership will come naturally. I also am a big believer in inclusion, which means the Chamber should be a welcoming place for business and community leaders from all backgrounds and walks of life.
What is your message to Chamber members?
I always ask Chamber members to get engaged in this organization and to share their passion about the Chamber and Jefferson City with others. Tell your customers, vendors and business associations why you believe in the Chamber and invite them to be a part of this movement. That’s the most powerful way to get the story out about this great organization and community!