Chamber selects Bainbridge Island leader as CEO

Business veteran Kevin Dwyer has been named as the Snoqualmie Valley Chamber of Commerce’s new president and chief executive officer.

“I’m thrilled to be working in such a beautiful area,” said Dwyer. “I’m looking forward to working with the chamber board, the Snoqualmie business community and the community at large, to lift the chamber to its next level of excellence in the areas of membership development, tourism and economic development.”Kevin Dwyer

The chamber board unanimously approved his hiring in late December. His first day on the job will be Tuesday, Jan. 3.

Dwyer spent the past decade as executive director of the Bainbridge Island Chamber of Commerce and prior to that working as a business recruiter and marketer for the Economic Development Council of Kitsap County. Before entering the ceconomic development arena, he spent more than 20 years in newspaper and magazine editing and reporting in the Midwest, California and the Seattle area. He is the former editor of the Puget Sound Business Journal and was founding editor of Washington CEO Magazine.

During his tenure with the Bainbridge Chamber, Dwyer oversaw a growth in membership from the 670 members he inherited in 2001 to more than 1,000 members at the height of economic expansion, to about 850 in the years since. He also was able to triple the chamber’s revenue and added a number of new events and networking opportunities.

Rodger McCollum, Snoqualmie Valley Hospital District administrator and incoming 2012 chamber president, led an extensive selection process with Gregory Malcolm, Encompass executive director and 2011 chamber president. McCollum is thrilled to welcome Dwyer aboard.

“Kevin is perfectly suited to step into the role as the champion for our chamber,” he said, “especially at a time when experience in economic development, tourism and job creation will be required for the chamber to meet its strategic goals, which include increasing the number of chamber members.”

Dwyer succeeds Snoqualmie resident Susan Livingston, who filled in on a contract basis as management consultant for the chamber since last summer.

The CEO role was created, McCollum said, because chamber board members believed that the new top position needed to be at that level for the new leader to capitalize on opportunities for economic growth in the Valley. He added that the Snoqualmie Valley chamber is particularly fortunate to draw upon Dwyer’s skill set.

Dwyer said he sees great potential in the Snoqualmie Valley for building what he calls the three-legged stool of chamber work: membership development, tourism, and economic development.

“The Valley has great amenities,” he said. “When you take in Snoqualmie Falls, the Railroad Museum, Snoqualmie Casino, the North Bend Premium Outlets, TPC Snoqualmie Ridge, Mt. Si, the rivers and the ski resorts, you really have a package of great outdoor and indoor opportunities that have enormous appeal and potential.”

Part of Dwyer’s role will be working with local city and regional officials to attract new businesses and primary jobs to the region.

“Growth is coming to the Valley from the Eastside, and the challenge is, how do we capture some of that?” Dwyer said. “How do we attract technology companies and other kinds of businesses that will see the Valley as a great place to live, work and play?”

Dwyer said he thoroughly enjoyed the hiring process with the Snoqualmie Valley Chamber and is in-tune with the organization’s goals and objectives.

“I was impressed that a city administrator and a city council member were involved in the interview,” he said. “It will be refreshing to be in a community where it appears that everybody is rowing the same way on tourism, economic development and the business perspective.”

Dwyer looks forward to taking advantage of the Valley’s physical beauty and surroundings. He enjoys biking, hiking, golfing and skiing and is an avid sports fan. He is married and has an adult-aged daughter.  He plans to relocate to the Snoqualmie Valley.

To contact Dwyer, visit him at the chamber office, 38767 S.E River St. starting Tuesday, Jan. 3, or call (425) 888-6362.


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