Chamber Executive Article Archive

Faces and Places

By Several Authors

Fall 2014

Amanda Atchley has been named executive director of the Canton Area (Ill.) Chamber of Commerce She worked for five years for a non-profit organization developing programs, preparing budgets, and recruiting and supervising volunteers. She has also been involved in Canton Main Street as a board member, and has helped plan and promote events in the downtown area to encourage business growth and offer activities to the community.

St. Clair Area (Mo.) Chamber of Commerce’s Rebecca Blankenship, who was serving as a part-time assistant in the chamber office, was recently promoted to be the chamber’s executive director.

The Greater Irving-Las Colinas (Texas) Chamber of Commerce selected Beth Bowman, the chamber’s former chief development officer and interim vice president of economic development, as its new president and CEO. She replaced Chris Wallace who left to become president of the Texas Association of Business.

This summer, the Lebanon Valley (Pa.) Chamber of Commerce named Gregory D. Buckler to be its new president and CEO. Buckler, who succeeds the recently retired Larry Bowman, was vice president of membership for the Maryland Chamber of Commerce.

Hannah Caylor is the Dyersburg/Dyer County (Tenn.) Chamber’s new membership director. Prior to joining the chamber, she was a patient care coordinator.

Lynn Allen Cione, executive director of the Goshen Chamber of Commerce since 2008, has been named president of the Orange County (N.Y.) Chamber of Commerce. Cione will succeed Dr. John A. D’Ambrosio, who led the chamber for the past 33 years.

Elizabeth Cromwell is the new president and CEO of the Frederick County (Md.) Chamber of Commerce. Prior to joining the Chamber, Cromwell was director of corporate and community partnerships for Frederick County Public Libraries.

Eric Kranz was appointed executive director of the Dearborn County (Ill.) Chamber of Commerce. Kranz was previously with the Southeast Indiana Small Business Development Center where he provided consulting services for aspiring entrepreneurs and companies.

Lee R. Luff, CCE, CAE, president and CEO of the Anderson Area (S.C.) Chamber of Commerce, announced that he will retire Nov. 1 after 34 years of leading chambers in Michigan, Ohio and South Carolina. He has been voted by his peers as Chamber Executive of the Year in Ohio and South Carolina, and is past president of the Chamber of Commerce Executives of Ohio and the Carolinas Association of Chamber Executives (CACE). Under Luff ’s leadership, the Anderson Area Chamber received five-star accreditation from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. The Anderson Area Chamber was also named a finalist for “Chamber of the Year” by ACCE in 2012. In 2013 the Anderson Area Chamber was named South Carolina’s “Outstanding Chamber of the Year” by CACE. Luff served two terms on the Board of Directors of ACCE and chaired the Board of Regents for the U.S. Chamber Institute program at the University of Notre Dame.

The Rochester Area (Minn.) Chamber of Commerce named Rob Miller, former CEO and president of the Arizona Trade Exchange in Mesa, Ariz., to be its new president.

The Springfield Area (Mo.) Chamber of Commerce appointed Matt Morrow to be its new president and CEO. After serving as an aid for Missouri Senator John Ashcroft for several years, Morrow became CEO of the Homebuilders Association of Greater Springfield for 12 years before being named EVP and CEO of the Greater Birmingham Association of Home Builders.

The Greater Greer (S.C.) Chamber of Commerce named Mark Owens as its new president and CEO. Owens, who previously served as the Greer Chamber’s vice president, replaced Allen Smith, who is now president and CEO of the Spartanburg Area Chamber of Commerce.

The Heber Springs (Ark.) Area Chamber of Commerce has selected Julie Murray to be its new executive director. Most recently she worked for a consulting firm specializing in corporate training and ethics programs.

Linda Parsons was appointed president and CEO of the Moore County (N.C.) Chamber of Commerce. Parsons was serving as the chamber’s interim president and CEO following prior president Patrick Coughlin’s departure to lead the Cabarrus (N.C.) Regional Chamber of Commerce.

Jodie A. Perry, IOM, has been selected as the new president of the Richland Area (Ohio) Chamber of Commerce. Perry most recently served as president and CEO of the Greece, N.Y., Chamber of Commerce. She also served as vice president of the Greece Chamber Charitable Foundation and president of Greece Chamber Benefit Partners. Prior to joining the Greece Chamber, Perry led the Van Wert Area Chamber of Commerce and served on staff at the Ashland Area Chamber of Commerce, both in Ohio. She also worked as the Deputy Chief Clerk for the US Senate Banking Committee.

The Napa (Calif.) Chamber of Commerce welcomed Travis Stanley as its new president and CEO. Stanley’s career includes 25 years working in public relations and marketing for the National Basketball Association, most recently with the Golden State Warriors, where he was senior executive vice president of marketing. Prior to that, he worked in public relations for the Sacramento Kings and the Orlando Magic.

Stephanie Warren has accepted the position of Vice President of Membership & Business Services for the Wichita Metro (Kan.) Chamber of Commerce. She most recently served on the South Wichita YMCA Advisory Board and as an account executive for Entercom Radio Group.

William F. “Bill” Watson will lead the Cleveland County (N.C.) Chamber as its next president. Previously he worked in the corporate office of the YMCA of Greater Charlotte. Watson follows Michael Chrisawn who retired as chamber president in March, after six years of service.

The Pasadena (Texas) Chamber of Commerce recently presented Cristina Burt Womack as its new president and CEO. Womack has served in 10 different chamber and non-profit organizations in the last decade. She comes to the chamber after seven years at Cbeyond, where she served in management and sales.

In Memoriam

Past ACCE Board Chairman Thomas M. Brownlee, CCE, passed away August 7 in Orlando, Fla. He was 87. A Life Member honoree of ACCE, he chaired the association in 1965-66.

“While he was a successful businessman in several fields, his real passion was always with and for the chamber in each of the six cities he worked,” said Brownlee’s son Thomas J. Brownlee of Orlando. Brownlee had a lengthy career as a chamber executive in Daytona Beach, Tampa, Tallahassee, Columbia, Winston-Salem, and Orlando.

In 1977, he was invited to the White House as a past president of ACCE to attend a meeting about the national energy crisis. In the following seven weeks, he wrote 2,500 chambers of commerce and organized Orlando’s first Metropolitan Energy Conservation Task Force. After reporting back to the White House, President Gerald Ford shook his hand and said with a smile “Mr. Brownlee, you should be in the energy conservation business yourself.”

Brownlee took the advice to heart. In 1977 he left his position as EVP of the Orlando Area Chamber to form a total energy management company, which later became Brownlee Lighting.

Always active in local, regional and national organizations, Brownlee was a natural for politics. He was elected Orlando City Commissioner from 1978-1982, and served as Orlando Mayor Pro-tem. He also served with the Illuminating Engineering Society of North America, eventually becoming its president in 1995-1996.

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