Mike McLaran, former CEO of the Salem (OR) Chamber of Commerce, passed away Saturday morning, March 30, after suffering an apparent heart attack while jogging. He was 53.
McLaran, who retired from the Salem Chamber in July 2011, served as the organization’s leader for 16 years. He was president of McLaran Enterprises, Inc., offering strategic planning, project management and leadership development services.
McLaran transformed the Salem chamber into a first-class organization and built an all-star staff, two of whom were named "Staff Person of the Year" in consecutive years by the Western Association of Chamber Executives (WACE). He was one of the few non-Californians to be chairman of WACE. In 2011 he was cited for his mentorship by Chamber Executive Magazine in a cover story about the nation's most influential chamber executives.
Admired by many in the profession, McLaran was recognized in 2007 by WACE with the Russell E. Pettit Memorial Excellence in Leadership Award, and in 1997 he was named Executive of the Year by the Oregon Chamber Executives. McLaran was also a highly respected leader in the Salem community and throughout the Pacific Northwest. Last year, he received an honorary doctorate from Corban University and delivered the keynote address. Reno Hoff, president of Corban University, said in a news release that McLaran “was selected because of his years of service to the Salem community and his reputation as a man of high integrity. An honorary doctorate is a way to honor someone who has led a distinguished life and Mike McLaran has done that beyond reproach.”
McLaran’s passing is a tremendous loss for Salem. Click here to read how residents are remembering this man who was considered by many to be a leader, mentor and friend.