The South Metro Denver Chamber of Commerce will be hunting for a new leader soon, after President and CEO Bob Golden announced he will step down from the post at the end of October.
Golden, who has led the chamber since 2014, is taking a job as the business operations manager for the Water Design-Build Council, a Maryland-based not-for-profit group that seeks to “advance the development and rehabilitation of the nation's municipal water and wastewater systems,” according to its website.
Golden will work remotely from Denver, he said.
“Leaving the chamber is bittersweet,” Golden said. “The bottom line is, I feel I've given them my best, and it's time to move on, and for the chamber it's time for them to get someone new with fresh vision and ideas.”
Golden said he's proud of the work he and the chamber's board and members accomplished over the last five years.
“I think we brought a lot of stabilization to the organization,” Golden said. “When I got here, there was a tendency to be sort of scattered. It was unfocused, and that was frustrating. We instituted a vision: economic development, public policy advocacy and business engagement. Once we got that vision in place, it really helped us grow.”
The chamber, which has its headquarters in Centennial, boasts thousands of members, Golden said, stretching from south Denver to Castle Rock, and from Parker to the mountains. Member businesses run the gamut, “From Mr. Smoothie to Lockheed Martin,” Golden said.
Golden really whipped the group into shape, said board member Andrew Graham, who stepped down as chair of the board in September.
“When he came on, he needed to ensure the financial solvency of the chamber, reinvigorate our events and our member base, and reconstitute the board,” Graham said. “He did a great job at all of that. Like the Boy Scouts say, he left it better than he found it.”
A board committee will begin working to find an interim replacement right away, Graham said, with hopes to appoint a long-term successor to Golden by the first quarter of 2020.
Christie Lee, the board's current chair, said in a statement that the chamber will work hard to find the right fit.
“Rest assured that we will proceed expeditiously and perform the due diligence required to find and select the best candidate for the position,” Lee said in a news release. “The South Metro Denver Chamber is a wonderful organization and whoever is selected will be very fortunate and have an opportunity to continue to grow the chamber.”
Graham said the chamber will be looking for "someone who can build on this momentum."
“Someone who's dedicated to the south metro region, and a passion for what this group is," he said. "Ideally, that would be someone who lives in our region already, but it might be a hotshot chamber executive from elsewhere.”
In the meantime, Graham said, there's still lots of work to be done elsewhere, including the chamber's annual Economic Forecast Breakfast, scheduled for January.
The chamber owes a debt of gratitude to Golden, Graham said.
“He showed true and heartfelt dedication to a tough job,” he said.
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