OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — According to a release from the Greater Omaha Chamber, President and CEO David G. Brown has chosen to retire in 2022. Brown began his tenure in 2003.
Omaha Mayor Jean Stothert said in a press release, "Omaha has great momentum and a strong partnership with the Greater Omaha Chamber, thanks to David’s leadership.
Building great partnerships is the way we get things done in Omaha. Together, we are focused on common goals; to create a business climate where companies can thrive, where young professionals want to live and work, and our economy can keep growing. As a partner, and friend, I thank David for his enthusiastic commitment to Omaha and our future. Congratulations on your retirement!"
The chamber provided the following:
David G. Brown, president and CEO, Greater Omaha Chamber, today announced he will retire in 2022, leaving a legacy that has seen an 88% increase in the region’s average GDP since the start of his tenure in 2003.
“Serving this community has been an incredible pleasure and true honor. Nearly 20 years ago, my family and I made the intentional decision to choose Greater Omaha as our home. Over the past many years, I have had the great privilege of working side-by-side with committed officials from many states, business and civic leaders, community volunteers, a remarkable board of directors and a passionate team. Together, we have diligently aspired to elevate Greater Omaha as a prosperous region, with inclusive opportunities for all. I could not be more grateful to our many stakeholders and partners, and know that Greater Omaha’s future is bright. You have my humble thanks, my full appreciation and my total respect,” Brown said.
During his tenure, the chamber expanded the Greater Omaha Economic Development Partnership from a three-county, Nebraska-based partnership, to a two-state (Nebraska, Iowa), seven-county collaborative representing 44 percent of Nebraska’s population, and more than 60 percent of the state’s GDP. As a result, the Greater Omaha Economic Development Partnership successfully landed more than 920 projects, representing nearly 47,000 jobs, and more than $12 billion in capital investment, since 2004.
Partnerships were a hallmark of Brown’s chamber leadership, sparking economic development strategies in Midtown, North Downtown, North Omaha and South Omaha – efforts that strengthened the chamber’s relationships with organizations across the City of Omaha.Additionally, Brown led the “GO!” and “Prosper Omaha” campaigns designed to expand the chamber’s initiatives focused on young professional engagement, talent attraction and retention, transportation, site development, support of Offutt Air Force Base, diversity, equity and inclusion and quality-of-life.
Under Brown’s leadership, the chamber also strengthened its relationship with the State of Nebraska, the Nebraska Chamber of Commerce and the Lincoln Area Chamber of Commerce
The chamber’s public policy initiatives equally focused on partnerships over the past, nearly two, decades. This collaborative approach meant significant advances to quality-of-life, including education quality, a more competitive tax and regulatory environment, transportation funding, university support and the passage of two major economic development incentive packages to replace and modernize legislation passed originally in 1986.
The culmination of these successful community-leadership alliances, Brown said, is the chamber’s partnership with the United Way of the Midlands, the Urban League of Nebraska and hundreds of business and community leaders in the creation of Greater Omaha 2040, a roadmap to the future for the region.
Within the chamber, a commitment to an engaged culture, driven by a clear vision, mission and values, has made the organization an employer-of-choice in the region.
“We have an exceptional team that will complement the new chamber leader,” Brown said. “Over the years, long-time chamber staff have built the foundation for success by elevating future generations of talented, passionate and committed colleagues. Combined with a visionary focus by chamber leadership and community partners, the chamber will retain, and enhance, its leadership position in the region and state.”
“David Brown is the consummate professional. He is caring and committed. He listens, advises and adapts. He leads by example, and by innovation. I am proud to know David, and, as chair of the Greater Omaha Chamber Board of Directors, have witnessed first-hand his passion for business and his tireless commitment to Greater Omaha’s sustainable growth,” said James Blackledge, chairman and chief executive officer, Mutual of Omaha. “On behalf of the entire board, I wish him all of the best in his future endeavors, and remain in deep gratitude for his many, many contributions.”
Blackledge said a search committee to replace Brown has been appointed, which will provide guidance and resources throughout the selection process, including establishing expectations and parameters for potential candidates. Blackledge added a national search firm will be hired, as is typical in securing leadership for positions of this kind.
“We have every confidence in our committee, and in the selection process, going forward,” Blackledge said of the steps required to appoint the next Greater Omaha Chamber president and CEO.
Brown began his career in organizational leadership in Michigan in 1983 as president of the Monroe County Industrial Development Corporation and director of the Port of Monroe. He served 10 years in Indiana at the Greater Fort Wayne Chamber of Commerce, first as vice president of economic development and then as president. His next assignment took him to South Carolina where he was president and CEO of the Greater Greenville Chamber of Commerce. David assumed his current role as president and CEO of the Greater Omaha Chamber in October 2003.
In addition to his professional responsibilities, David contributes his time and expertise to numerous community service organizations including the Aksarben Future Trust, Boys Scouts of America, College World Series of Omaha, Governor’s International Trade Council, Greater Omaha Alliance for Business Ethics, Opera Omaha, United Way of the Midlands and the U.S. Strategic Command Consultation Committee. Nationally, David serves on the Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives Board.
In 2020, Brown received the Distinguished Nebraskalander Award.
“This has been a remarkable journey, none of which would be possible without my community of colleagues. Without a doubt, however, I owe my deepest debt of gratitude to my wonderful wife Maggie and my sons, Elijah and Greg. We are proof that Omaha is a fantastic place for families.” Brown said.
Statement by Nebraska Governor Pete Ricketts:
“Thank you to David for his outstanding service to the State of Nebraska and City of Omaha. His work has helped grow the city and our state, including supporting multiple Governor’s Cup wins for Nebraska and Site Selection awards for the Omaha area. Susanne and I wish David well in his retirement.”
Statement by Anthony L. Goins, Director, Nebraska Department of Economic Development:
“David has been my friend and confidant for over 20 years. On behalf of our entire Department, I wish to congratulate him on his retirement, and to thank him for his years of outstanding service to the people of Greater Omaha and Nebraska as a whole. David leaves behind a legacy in our state’s economic development community that will not soon be forgotten. He has been a courageous leader and a driving force behind countless wins that have brought jobs, economic opportunities, and a higher quality of life to the people he has served. This includes more than $11 billion in economic development projects that he helped to deliver during his tenure. I look forward to continuing our collaboration as David moves into a different role of influence. It is with sincere admiration that I say ‘job well done.’”
Statement by Bryan Slone, President, Nebraska Chamber of Commerce & Industry:
“David is one of the most respected chamber leaders in America. The trajectory of growth seen in Omaha and surrounding counties is so significant that it’s tough to compare with other communities. We’re grateful for his leadership.”
Statement by Tim Burke, 2020 Chairman of the Board, Greater Omaha Chamber; Past President and Chief Executive Officer, Omaha Public Power District:
"David has been an incredible leader for the Chamber, the region and the State of Nebraska since he came to Omaha. He has demonstrated creativity, persistence and a deep desire for an exceptional community over the years. Within the past couple of years in particular, the Chamber, under David's leadership, raised community engagement around diversity, equity and inclusion, and conducted exceptional work in support of the local business community during the pandemic."
Statement by Carmen Tapio, Incoming 2023 Chairman of the Board, Greater Omaha Chamber; Member, Greater Omaha Chamber Board of Directors Executive Committee; President and CEO, North End Teleservices:
“Over the past several years, I have had the great pleasure of collaborating with my friend and colleague David Brown for the betterment of our community, and for the inclusive growth of Greater Omaha. I have respected and enjoyed David’s commitment to not only the economic health of our region, but, also, to the prosperity of people throughout our community. David’s talents are broad. He is steadfast. He is loyal. He is sincere and he is one of the most proficient leaders and people I have known. His desire to grow as a person, build connections, and to create pathways of innovation and of excellence for so many, has resulted in a legacy of integrity and positive momentum for our region. David, I offer you my most heartfelt best wishes. It is an honor to know you as a colleague and a friend. Thank you for your unwavering leadership of the Greater Omaha Chamber for nearly two decades. I am grateful for the solid foundation you have built and the heartfelt manner in which you have done so. I look forward to all of the great things that are ahead for you and your family.”