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Kelly ready to lead active chamber

by: PHOTO BY ELLEN SPITALERI - David Kelly, new president and CEO of the North Clackamas County Chamber of Commerce, discusses the upcoming leadership class with Diane Bonczkowski, executive assistant.The North Clackamas County Chamber of Commerce held a special Business After Hours on Wednesday, Aug. 29, to welcome David A. Kelly, the chamber’s new president and chief executive officer.

Kelly, his wife and 4-year-old son moved here from Troy, N.Y., and accepting the chamber job is taking him back to his roots, he said.

Before coming to Oregon, Kelly worked for the governor’s Office of Regulatory Reform in New York, where he “helped state agencies create rules and regulations that were less burdensome for business owners and local governments,” he said.

Prior to that, he worked for nine years for two chambers of commerce; he was the public policy manager for the Greater Elkhart, Ind., chamber and the executive director for the Orleans County Chamber in New York.

Kelly feels he is a good fit for the NCC chamber job, because he has experience working with local and state politics, and is interested in reaching out to chamber membership.

“In my second chamber job I was going out and visiting with members, and that resonated with the board” of the NCC chamber, Kelly said.

The North Clackamas job appealed to him, because he and his wife had been looking for a community where they could raise their son.

“I hope this is a long-term relationship; we want our son to grow up here and go to school here,” Kelly said. “The community is big enough to have lots of opportunities for him and us, and small enough to feel like home and give us a sense of belonging.”

Right now he and his family are living in an apartment, while they get a feel for local neighborhoods and schools, he said. Everyone he has encountered has been friendly and welcoming.

Involved chamber members

What Kelly is most looking forward to is getting out and meeting the members, re-engaging the average chamber members and finding out what their needs are, so the chamber can address those needs.

“I’d like to get the membership really involved deciding what their vision is for the chamber,” he added.

Kelly is also excited about the upcoming Leadership Clackamas County class that meets once a month. The sessions are designed to develop informed, business and civic-oriented people who will help shape their business and community’s economic base and local region through strong leadership.

The class is open to anyone in the county, but participants must commit to attending all sessions, which are held mainly the first Wednesday of each month, starting on Oct. 10; enrollment is limited to about 25 people. The LCC “graduation” ceremony will be held in June 2013.

Participants will be asked to define their role as leaders and as part of a team; they will also be asked to define their vision about tomorrow’s workforce and how they can move the community forward, among other things.

“I took a similar class at Elkhart, and for this I will be overseeing the administration of it as well as being a participant,” Kelly said.

“I am looking forward to all those opportunities to meet my classmates in depth, and this is a wonderful opportunity to learn about the community. I hope a lot of other people sign up.”

Overall, the NCC chamber job appealed to Kelly, because unlike some other chambers he has encountered, this one has “been really active and well run over the years,” he said.

Kelly noted that he started work on July 30, rushing out here ahead of his wife and son, so that he could overlap for a time with Susan Lehr, former chamber president and chief executive officer.

“She was so helpful and professional, showing me the office procedures. I hope to build on what she and previous board members have been doing,” Kelly added.

Fast Facts

Contact David Kelly, president and chief executive officer, North Clackamas County Chamber of Commerce

Call: 503-654-7777

The chamber is at 7740 S.E. Harmony Road, Milwaukie, and serves Boring, Damascus, Gladstone, Happy Valley, Johnson City, Milwaukie, unincorporated Clackamas County and areas of Portland, including Southeast and East Portland.

Website: yourchamber.com

Leadership Clackamas County is an interactive series of briefings, seminars and tours designed to expand the knowledge, skills and awareness to advance leadership and community engagement that guides decision-making and relationships for success. The program allows participants to develop their contacts, resources and skillset that enhances their ability to succeed. Participation in a class project is mandatory.

To learn more about Leadership Clackamas County, pick up a brochure at the chamber office or visit yourchamber.com/about-us/newsletter and click on the Aug. 29 edition of the newsletter. An application form is available online as well.