After more than 31 years of service, five as a volunteer and 26 next year as president and CEO, I have decided it’s time for a change in leading our region’s chamber of commerce. During the past few months, the chamber board officers and later our board, helped me develop a succession plan that would take me to the end of July 2020.
First and foremost, let me say how much of a sincere honor and privilege it has been working and serving our chamber, its members and the business community for these many years.
For a person who has thoroughly enjoyed being involved in the community,there has been no better career for me than to serve and represent the business community, employers, their employees and the many other community leavers that have touched my life during that time.
My thanks and appreciation go out to the many chamber staff, board chairs, board members and volunteers who have allowed me to be part of their lives.
I am especially grateful to my family, especially my wife Donna, daughter Natasha and son Matthew, who not only supported this calling, but no doubt tolerated the many times I missed dinners, sporting games and school events over the years in an effort to do my job to the best of my ability.
During my career I have also made many good friends and developed relationships with fellow chamber colleagues on local, state and national levels. I have also been afforded the opportunity to server in leadership roles at all those same levels.
To the community and the 10,000 businesses with which I have had an association, I say thank you for your support and friendship.
During more than three decades, I have seen many changes to our area. Thanks to many who listened to the advocacy by the business community, we have seen a number of improvements to the business climate and success.
I can still remember when state regulation issues, like our state’s workers’ compensation program, was a silent killer of jobs in Ohio. Today we have experienced much improvement in those regulations and others such that in 2018, several news outlets have names Ohio the 10th best state or better in which to do business in America. That is a far cry from being near the bottom of the pack at 37th in the ’90s when I started, but clearly there is room for further improvements.
The chamber has been involved in much during my tenure including many advocacy issues, infrastructure needs, member services, education and training, employer/employee safety, economic improvement initiatives, inclusion and equity and much more.
I have been fortunate to work for one of the very few 5-star accredited chamber in the nation as well as one of the oldest, largest and most respected. For that I thank everyone involved.
But there is still much yet to do by our organization, plus some additional internal operational items like our move to our new home at 8 N. Main St. and our re-accreditation in 2020.
I will be here to help complete those tasks and will be ready to hand off my role as CEO to the new leader chosen by our board.
It’s been a great run. I am not moving. Yes, I am a transplant from Florida but after almost 46 years, this is clearly my home. I still have a number of things I can do using my experience and energy to help in our community and our citizens.
I have been blessed and will forever be in the debt of the chamber and the business community. My best to all who work and care for our region and I look forward to continuing to be part of that “Dayton Strong” community even after July 31, 2020.
Phillip L. Parker, CAE, CCE
President and CEO
Dayton Area Chamber of Commerce