Best Wishes to Dick Fleming
At the end of this month, one of the most accomplished figures in the profession and our association is stepping down. When Dick Fleming came to St. Louis in 1994, the chamber had an annual budget of $3 million, no cash reserves and a meager economic development program. Now the Regional Chamber and Growth Association (RCGA) has a $10 million annual budget, healthy reserves, a robust multi-year ED funding campaign, a seasoned professional staff and a full range of regional economic development and national marketing activities.
Here are just some of the awards, accolades and accomplishments for RCGA under Dick’s tenure:
· Twice named by Site Selection Magazine as one of the Top Ten Economic Development Organizations in North America.
· Chamber-led center city revitalization effort helped stimulate nearly $5 billion in new downtown area investment.
· “Perfectly Centered, Remarkably Connected” regional brand won the Public Relations Society of America’s top national award for non-profit branding.
· Development of the region’s transportation infrastructure including metro light rail and a new Mississippi River bridge.
· Multiple ACCE Communications Excellence Awards for St. Louis Commerce magazine and other RCGA publications
One could also mention their bi-state regional public policy coalition Forward Metro St. Louis, the new downtown sculpture garden, mixed use development around Busch Stadium, the cluster supporting Coalition for Plant and Life Sciences and it's incubator/lab space CORTEX, establishing St. Louis as a hub for China Eastern Air Cargo, and on and on...
Dick raised the bar for the St. Louis region, but also for ACCE. Few individuals have done more for the association in its 100-year history, and nobody has done more over the past decade. Dick stepped in to chair the organization in 2005 after leading the Metro Council. He also took on the lion's share of our fundraising efforts in 2002. He continued his role in resource development throughout his association involvement. He was a champion of ACCE's expansion into economic development concerns, and helped the association link up with new allies including the Climate Prosperity Project and Partners for Livable Communities. As chairman of our affiliate, the Alliance for Regional Stewardship, Dick helped establish the John Parr Award for Business-Civic Commitment to Regional Leadership.
From his time as CEO of the Metro Denver Chamber to his time as a HUD official in Washington, D.C., to his start in economic development in Atlanta, Dick has been a leader in business/community advancement. We wish him all the best in the next phase of his career. But he won’t get away just yet. We’ve asked Dick to remain in his role as chair of the Alliance for Regional Stewardship through August. If we're fortunate, he'll continue to advise us for years to come.