From the President, 4/27/2010


President and CEO James A. Heeter

I admit, I’ve never blogged before.  But as the new President and CEO of your Chamber, I’m going to give it a try because I think it is an important way to communicate with our membership.

As a long-time attorney, it’s may be somewhat natural for me to speak in legalese. For this space, though, I’ll try not to do that.

I’ve been on the job for a week now, starting with last Monday’s Board meeting with all the officers, board members and community leaders and an appearance on KCUR public radio.  I wanted to hit the ground running and that’s what we’ve done – and I’ve enjoyed it.

As a former Chamber Board member myself, I’ve always been impressed by the leadership and staff of our organization.  After my first week, those positive impressions have only been reinforced and strengthened.

Board Chair Peter deSilva of UMB has put a strategic plan in place that clearly defines The Chamber’s goals for our members and our regional community.  And he’s followed that vision with action.  Peter is truly dedicated to The Chamber and is doing an outstanding job in leading our organization – both in service to our members and as key leader in building an even better Kansas City.  I appreciate the opportunity to work with him and with our other exceptional Chamber officers – Greg Graves (Burns and McDonnell), Frank Ellis (Swope Community Enterprises), and Bill Downey (KCPL).  They are remarkable both as individuals and as a leadership team.

My new job is made easier still because of the tremendous staff assembled by my predecessor, Pete Levi.  They are a hard-working, dedicated, and talented group whose productivity and commitment are over the top. 

Although I left behind a successful law practice that I have enjoyed immensely, the decision to leave for The Chamber was easy for me.  I love this community – my wife Judy and I deliberately chose Kansas City as our home when I graduated from law school a few decades ago.  We wanted a good place to raise our family and I’d fallen in love with Kansas City during a summer internship here; the friendliness of its people, its physical beauty, and its virtual insistence on community involvement. 

Yes, our community does face challenges, but every challenge presents a new and exciting opportunity.  I’m looking forward to doing my part in taking on those challenges and seizing those opportunities. 

In the last few weeks, I’ve received more than a thousand voicemails, phone calls, emails, etc. Thank you for all your expressions of support.  They are deeply appreciated and I look forward to leading our Chamber and working with all of you.


One Response to “From the President, 4/27/2010”

  1. Mike Sigsbee Says:


    I understand your were at the MLK school today for the reception. My co-workers told me the turn-out was fantastic and the space looks wonderful. We are very proud to have been a part of a great effort to improve the lives of school age children. Please let me know if we can help with any other efforts in the future.

    Mike Sigsbee
    SSi Furnishings

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