Chamber Executive Article Archive

Faces and Places

Several Authors

Harvey Schmitt, will receive the Greater Raleigh Chamber’s 2015 A.E. Finely Distinguished Service Award. The award, presented annually since 1970, recognizes a person who has contributed time, talent and service to benefit the community. Schmitt, who retired in June after 21 years as president and CEO of the Greater Raleigh Chamber and 43 years as a chamber professional, will receive the award during the chamber’s 127th annual meeting in September.

The Greater Raleigh Chamber also named Tim Guiliani as its new leader. Guiliani, formerly president and CEO of the Gainesville (Fla.) Area Chamber of Commerce since 2012, will succeed Harvey Schmitt.

Former ACCE Chair Casey Steinbacher, CCE is stepping down as president and CEO of the Greater Durham Chamber of Commerce. Steinbacher, who led the chamber for eight years, will launch her own consulting business focusing on urban innovation projects and strategy development.

The Calgary Chamber of Commerce was awarded the best unconventional project for its flood recovery and business continuity effort at the World Chambers competition. Adam Legge, president of the chamber, received the honor during the recent World Chambers Congress in Torino, Italy.

Doug Kinsinger has stepped down as president of the Greater Topeka Chamber of Commerce and Go Topeka. Kinsinger led the chamber and Go Topeka since 2001. Curtis Sneden, vice president of government relations, will serve as interim chamber president and CEO, and Scott Smathers, vice president of economic development, will serve as interim president and CEO of GO Topeka.

In May, Ryan Carley was named president and CEO of the Bay Area (Mich.) Chamber of Commerce. He replaced Michael Seward, who retired in January. Prior to joining the chamber, Carley was the statewide director of retail banking for FirstMerit Bank, formerly Citizens Bank.

The Fort Worth Chamber recently promoted five employees: Lydia Hall is now vice president of Programs and Events; Andra Bennett House, APR, has been promoted to vice president of Communications; Dr. Cynthia Miller is vice president of workforce development and education; Melonye Whitson is vice president of economic development, and Matt Geske, is vice president of governmental affairs.

The Greater Warrenton (Va.) Chamber of Commerce’s new executive director is Deanna M. Hammer. Hammer has been an active volunteer and small business owner in Fauquier County, Va. and surrounding communities. She has extensive experience as a director of convention and meetings for a national education association and has 12 years of experience in sales with Marriott International Inc. and Westin Hotels.

The Hastings (Minn.) Area Chamber named Kristy Barse as its new president. Barse has experience in fundraising and chamber management. For the past three years she has worked as business manager for the Apple Valley (Minn.) Chamber of Commerce.

Donna Germain has been selected as the new president and CEO of the Chamber of Commerce of Cape Coral. Germain started her career with the chamber in 2004, and has served as member relations manager, marketing and communications director, and interim vice president. This year she was appointed to the Florida Association of Chamber Professionals’ board of directors.

The Marietta (Ohio) Area Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors has named Carrie Ankrom as its new president/CEO. Ankrom served as the events manager and the Mid-Ohio Valley Safety Council manager for the Marietta Area Chamber for 10 years.

John H. (JJ) Hollie II has been selected to be the new president and CEO of The Woodlands (Texas) Area Chamber of Commerce, following the upcoming retirement of CEO Karen Hoylman, who served the chamber for more than 21 years. In 1998, Hollie began his career with Consolidated Communications in Business Sales and is currently the national consumer data manager.

Sarah Gaskill has been named president of the Morrisville (N.C.) Chamber of Commerce, replacing former president Carlotta Ungaro, who became president and CEO of the Fayette County (Ga.) Chamber in February. Gaskill previously worked at the Greater Raleigh Chamber of Commerce as vice president of Small Business and Membership Services.

The Manatee (Fla.) Chamber of Commerce hired Michael Gallen as its new vice president of public policy and small business. His former positions have included Manatee County Commissioner, American Government high school educator and staff attorney and bill analyst with the Florida House of Representatives.

Thomas Peaco, who served as executive director of Make-A-Wish’s Maine chapter since 1997, has been named as the new leader of the Penobscot Bay (Maine) Regional Chamber of Commerce. Peaco is filling a vacancy left by Staci Coomer, who left in March for a job in Washington D.C.

The Langley (Wash.) Chamber of Commerce named Michaleen McGarry as its new executive director. She takes over for Marc Esterly, who retired in March. She comes to the chamber with 15 years in the technology and marketing fields. She
had her own tech firm for eight years and was COO of a web development firm in Phoenix.

Jacki Dezelski, IOM, with the Manatee (Fla.) Chamber of Commerce, was named the Florida Association of Chamber Professionals “Chamber Professional of the Year” at its spring conference in May. This award, in its inaugural year, recognizes a Florida chamber professional for leadership, mentoring, self-improvement,
efficiency, problem solving, customer service, service projects, and teamwork. She has been with the Manatee Chamber for 19 years.

In Memoriam

Len Cane, 85, former president of the Ulster County (N.Y.) Chamber of Commerce, passed away May 20. He also co-founded and served as president of the Ulster County Development Corp. Ward Todd, the chamber’s current president, said Cane was one of the longest-tenured chamber executives in the nation, serving the chamber for 34 years.

Jerry Roper, 74, former Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce CEO and ACCE board member, passed away June 28. Roper served as president of the Chicagoland Chamber from 1993-2013. Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel said, “For more than 20 years, Jerry was a tireless advocate and a tremendous partner for strengthening Chicago’s business climate, and ensuring a stronger economic future for our city.”

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