President & Chief Executive Officer Quad Cities Chamber of Commerce

Quad Cities Chamber of Commerce
Job Description
Position Profile
President & Chief Executive Officer
Quad Cities Chamber of Commerce
Davenport, Iowa/Moline, Illinois

The Organization
The Quad Cities Chamber of Commerce ("the Chamber") is a 501(c)(6) nonprofit membership-based chamber and economic development organization focused on expanding the economy and improving the quality of life in the bi-state Quad Cities region of western Iowa and eastern Illinois. The Chamber serves the cities of East Moline, Moline and Rock Island, the town of Milan and counties of Henry, Mercer and Rock Island in Illinois; cities of Davenport and Bettendorf, towns of Eldridge and LeClaire and Scott County in Iowa. This truly unique and regional organization represents a primary population of over 400,000 with a labor force of 588,000.

The Chamber has 1,800 members, ranging from small businesses to large international corporations, from nonprofit agencies to colleges and universities. The Chamber’s economic development marketing arm, Quad Cities First, is a public-private partnership and is partially funded through a Regional Opportunities Council (“ROC”), comprised of 100 leading area businesses. Members of the ROC invest $5,000 and up. Additional chamber revenue comes from multi-year contracts for services with the cities of Davenport, Bettendorf, Moline, East Moline and Rock Island in support of business attraction, retention/expansion and innovation.

With an annual budget of $6MM, the Chamber provides a wide variety of programs and services for members including: networking; communication and relationship building events; economic development activities, leadership programs; small business support and entrepreneurial development initiatives; educational partnership programs; military affairs programs; and government advocacy activities. The Chamber staffs and manages a number of entities and programs/services under its umbrella of operations:
  • Quad Cities First: Separate 501(c)(4) public-private economic development partnership charged with business retention and attraction and focused on marketing and selling the unique assets of the Quad Cities region nationally and internationally.
  • Downtown Davenport Partnership: A division of the Chamber that focuses on the economic impact, strategic growth, quality of life and beautification of the downtown area.
  • Moline Centre: Contracted services with the Chamber that focuses on the economic impact, strategic growth, quality of life and beautification of the downtown area.
  • Government/Legislative/Military Affairs: Advocacy activities at the municipal, county, state and Federal levels; non-partisan Illinois Growth PAC and the Iowa Growth PAC support local and state candidates with demonstrated records of supporting economic development and job creation in the region; Hooah Quad Cities is a Chamber initiative that supports the military community and works cooperatively with the Rock Island Arsenal, one of the largest employers in the region.
  • Q2030: Regional visioning plan led by the Chamber bringing together business, government, non-profit and civic organizations aimed at building on the strengths of the region and leveraging opportunities for growth and prosperity. The Chamber provides staff support for the Q2030 Steering Committee and Advisory Committee and is a key partner driving the Q2030 action plan.
  • Young Professionals of the Quad Cities: Engages over 3,000 young professionals through a variety of social, professional and leadership development activities.
  • Member Services: Support and programming including 70+ membership events throughout the year and access to a myriad of tools for business and employee development, Ignite Quad Cities to foster entrepreneurial development and other network building activities throughout the region.
The Quad Cities Chamber was formed in 2010 when the Illinois Quad City Chamber and the Iowa Quad Cities Chamber combined into a single entity, thus providing a unified voice of business in the region. The Chamber’s former President & Chief Executive Officer, who had previously led the Iowa Quad Cities Chamber, successfully led the merged organization through its important transition period. The Board is now embarking on a national search to identify a new CEO who can take the reins of this unique regional organization and lead it to new levels of success. More information about the Chamber:

The Quad Cities Economy and Livability
Located along the Mississippi River and at the intersection of Interstates 74, 80 and 88, the Quad Cities is the regional hub for employment, services, industry, retail, finance, healthcare, education, culture and the arts. Major industries include food processing/packaging, advanced manufacturing, logistics/transportation, financial services and information technology. The region is home to international businesses including the corporate headquarters of John Deere & Co. with major operations of Arconic, Hy-Vee, Kraft Heinz and Tyson. These chief employers are joined by 30,000 additional businesses, creating a robust and growing economy. Quad Cities is also home to the Rock Island Arsenal, a major manufacturing facility of The U.S. Defense Department. A unique arrangement allows the Arsenal to market underutilized space and capacity on the Rock Island Arsenal to private sector business.

A network of over 40 colleges and universities within a 90-mile radius provides companies with a pool of highly skilled and educated workers. The region is an incubator of high-tech and entrepreneurial companies, thanks in part to unique public-private sector partnerships such as Innovation Hub. Exciting developments in the Quad Cities include downtown revitalizations in Davenport and Moline through renovations of historic properties producing downtown living space which have re-energized their downtown areas.

Additional excitement centers around recent and significant economic development wins involving $800MM in new corporate investment, including $203MM Kraft Heinz and $160MM Sterilite projects. A new $1.4BB signature 1-74 bridge is currently under construction which will further enhance accessibility across the Iowa and Illinois state lines encouraging additional collaboration among the Quad Cities.
The Quad Cities offers an outstanding quality of life with medium-sized communities that are vibrant centers of commerce and culture. In addition to safe neighborhoods, affordable cost of living and short commute times, the area offers a variety of concerts, museums, historical sites, unique shopping and dining options. Outdoor recreational and scenic spaces include parks and hundreds of miles for hiking, biking and walking. Because of its highly diversified economy, the region’s unemployment rate is consistently one of the lowest in the Midwest. The Quad Cities ideal location provides easy access to major metros of Chicago, St. Louis and state capital cities of Des Moines and Springfield.

More information about the Quad Cities region can be found through:
The Position
The President & Chief Executive Officer maintains an office at each of the Chamber’s two locations: 1601 River Drive, Moline, Illinois 61265; (309) 757-5416 and 331 W. 3rd Street, Davenport, Iowa 52801; (563) 332-1706.
Reporting Relationships
The President & Chief Executive Officer (“CEO”) of the Chamber reports to the Chair of a 30-member Board of Directors and is a member of the 10-person Executive Committee of the Board. The Chamber Board currently meets every other month. The CEO will also work closely with a 17-member Quad Cities First Board which meets monthly. This executive will have management responsibility for 30 Chamber staff members, with direct supervision of Chief Operating Officer, Chief Economic Development Officer, Senior Vice President, Vice President-Communications, Vice President-Finance, Vice President-Member Services (who is serving as Interim CEO), Director-Human Resources, Executive Administrative Assistant.

Other important interactions include: executives and employees of Chamber member organizations; municipal and county elected and appointed officials along with state and Federal elected officials and their staffs in both Illinois and Iowa; representatives of other public and private sector partnership organizations; education officials; and the media.

Position Charter
The President & Chief Executive Officer (“CEO”) is the chief paid executive and administrative officer of the Chamber and responsible for all administrative and management functions and executing the mission of the organization. The CEO’s primary responsibilities include planning, directing and controlling all activities of the Chamber in order to achieve the stated goals and objectives of strategic and operating plans. The CEO is expected to communicate and implement all policies and provide leadership and direction that creates a high level of enthusiasm, expectancy and momentum among the membership, Chamber staff and the regional business community and civic community.

Major Duties and Responsibilities include:
  • Economic development: In concert with Quad Cities First Board, staff and volunteers, oversee a comprehensive program to assist with the creation of new jobs, balanced growth and capital investment through the expansion of existing or recruitment of new industry to the Quad Cities region.
  • Strategic and annual planning: Work with the Board and staff to develop and annually update a Strategic Plan that provides direction for the long-term activities of the Chamber and for the long-term allocation of Chamber resources; prepare an annual Work Plan Summary in conjunction with the Strategic Plan and ensure successful execution of the Plan. Work with regional public and private sector leadership on implementation of Q2030 goals and objectives.
  • Fundraising: Responsible for oversight of all fundraising activities including general Chamber membership activities, events and sponsorships, grants and special fundraising campaigns including both the Chamber and Quad Cities First.
  • Staff Leadership: Responsible for employment, assignment of duties, supervision, evaluation, training and leadership of all Chamber staff. Based on Chamber's annual plan, assure staff members are prepared to successfully implement Chamber's programs, pro-actively providing information to Chamber constituencies.
  • Fiscal management: Develop the Chamber budget and relate budget to program goals and maintain responsibility for all expenditures within the framework of the budget. Fulfill the Chamber's fiduciary responsibilities and contract obligations with other partners.
  • Legislative affairs and advocacy: Maintain effective relationships with elected officials and their staffs in Illinois and Iowa, promoting open communication and cooperation to solve problems, improve quality of life and promote economic and community development while advocating on behalf of the Chamber's members and mission.
  • Military affairs: Responsible for maintaining and promoting community-wide support for the 5,600-employee Federal installation on the Rock Island Arsenal; includes strengthening military and community relationships by seeking opportunities for businesses and organizations to become more involved.
  • Public relations: Represent the Chamber at all appropriate meetings and act as the chief spokesperson for the Chamber. Serve in highly visible role with various community organizations to continuously keep Chamber relevant and a voice for business.
  • Membership: Oversee activities related to ensuring membership satisfaction and retention and that dues and non-dues revenue streams enhance and support the Chamber's work and further defines the relevance and value of the organization.
  • Constituent relationships: Responsible for ongoing interaction and liaison with a wide constituency including:
Board of Directors: Earn and maintain the respect and confidence of the Chamber Board.
Chamber Members: Responsible for motivating members to personally and financially support an aggressive Chamber program, revising the program of work to improve service to make membership more valuable. Personally call on major Chamber investors to determine their needs, acknowledge their importance and increase their involvement and support.
Government Officials: Maintain strong communication and relationship with elected and appointed officials and their staffs within the region's multiple municipalities and counties, along with state and federal levels.
Small Business: Work closely with small businesses and entrepreneurs given they are an integral part of the Chamber and a critical component of the economic development strategy of the region. Assure the Chamber provides resources in support of small business growth from start-up stage to company maturity.
Community: Through personal contacts with key community leaders, help shape the Quad Cities community, relating Chamber work to activities that impact the quality of life in the bi-state region.
Regional Relationships: Work to maintain and/or initiate effective working relationships with aligned organizations within the bi-state region.
Education: Foster strong relationships with representatives of higher education institutions and school districts.
Media: Serve as the official spokesperson of the Chamber to the public at large and to the local and regional print and electronic media.
  • Chamber programs/Services: Ongoing evaluation of all programs and services, with equal focus on quality, emphasizing value to members and the community at large, along with sound fiscal benefit to the Chamber.
  • Evaluation of local environment: Assess and maintain awareness of Quad Cities and broader regional business and community environment. Anticipate emerging and long-range opportunities and challenges and pro-actively recommend Chamber and community programs to take advantage of opportunities and to overcome challenges.
  • Chamber operations and policy: Monitor organizational structure and culture to ensure that Chamber functions with optimum efficiency. Responsible for facility management of Chamber's offices in Illinois and Iowa.
  • Governance: In consultation with the Board, ensure proper governance, policy and procedures are in place to effectively manage activities and ensure compliance with applicable policy, requirements, laws and regulations.
  • Other duties: Perform other tasks and duties as may be assigned from time to time by the Board.
The President & Chief Executive Officer is expected to earn an attractive compensation package; appropriate benefits and some relocation assistance will be provided.

The Candidate

A Bachelor’s degree is required; an advanced degree is desirable. If the candidate’s experience includes chamber of economic or development industry background, then a graduate of the U.S. Chamber’s Institute for Organization Management, Certified Chamber Executive designation or Certified Economic Developer designation is desirable.

Professional Qualifications
The ideal candidate must have a proven track record of success within a complex operating environment and may come from a variety of backgrounds such as: serving as the top executive within a progressive and comparably-sized Chamber of Commerce, or related significant business association, or economic development-focused organization; experience as a “#2” or other senior-level executive at a larger like enterprise as noted above; or an executive from a complex private or public sector entity. Significant Board interaction and experience leading large numbers of volunteers is strongly desired. A minimum of 10 years of progressively responsible experience along with a minimum of 5 years of direct management experience. Successful candidates will be expected to demonstrate a consistent and measurable track record of achieving goals and objectives in leadership positions.

Preferred Knowledge, Skills and Abilities
  • Economic development (has worked collaboratively with established public-sector delivery systems and private sector resources to effectively promote the business growth of a community, county or region).
  • Executive management experience (strong staff leadership and human resource development).
  • Resource development (experience with varied successful funding activities, both short and long term).
  • Volunteers (ability to motivate and utilize staff and volunteers).
  • Fiscal management (demonstrated ability to manage financial affairs of an organization).
  • Collaborative relationships (has developed effective partnerships among all sectors).
  • Government relations (has effective working relationships with elected/appointed officials and their staffs).
  • Planning (has successfully developed and implemented both operational and strategic plans).
  • Diversity/inclusion (promotes climate that values diversity and demonstrates inclusion and equity).
  • Membership (track record of membership development, retention, increased value and expansion).
  • Board relationships (involvement with Board development and recruitment, governance issues).
  • Community/regional development (able to identify both local and regional issues and effectively manage interactions with regional organizations to achieve common goals).
  • Small business (programmatic success serving small business enterprises and working with entrepreneurs).
  • Established contacts (regional/national connections with business, government, public sector organizations).
  • Media/public relations (can articulate policy positions to the media and the community at large).
  • Sales orientation (can promote Chamber and region locally, nationally, internationally).
Desired Personal Traits
  • Leadership (has a passion for the organization and mission; can manage, motivate, and delegate to others).
  • Integrity (possesses honesty and the highest ethical and moral standards).
  • Vision (forward thinker; envisions “the big picture” beyond daily operations toward strategic goals and ideas).
  • Interpersonal skills (personable; relates well to all kinds of people; sincere; authentic).
  • Consensus-building (forges effective working relationships to work together toward common goals).
  • Communication skills (excellent written/oral communication and presentation skills; excellent listener).
  • Political acumen (demonstrated ability to strategically navigate among local, county, state and federal leaders).
  • Collaborative (can work with others to achieve positive results for the region).
  • Teamwork (recognizes that many parties are necessary to accomplish big things).
  • Management style (empowers staff; inclusive; holds staff accountable; serves as a mentor).
  • Customer service (servant leadership orientation; “we need you” versus “you need us” mentality).
  • Transparency (shares information in appropriate and timely fashion).
  • Intelligent (bright; street smarts and natural intelligence).
  • Visibility (highly visible to staff, members and business leaders; active in the region).
  • Credibility (can command respect of Board, members, staff, business and regional leaders).
  • Change agent (willing to take challenge traditional thinking for positive change).
  • Persuasive (can convince disparate groups to come to a logical resolution).
  • Resilient (able to handle setbacks; rebounds from disappointments optimistically).
  • Organizational skills (results oriented; meets established goals and objectives).
  • Executive presence (polished; confident; can command a room when appropriate).
  • Energetic (genuinely enthusiastic; strong personal work ethic).
  • Humility (freely and frequently gives credit to others).
  • Strategic thinker (can plan for the future and brings “outside the box” ideas).
Challenges and Opportunity
The projected first year accomplishments for the new CEO of the Quad Cities Chamber include:
  • Establish presence as the Chamber’s CEO, become completely familiar with all operating aspects of the Chamber including staff, finances, programs, Board members and committed volunteers. Become recognized as the “face of the Chamber” and earn confidence of constituency groups in ability to move Chamber and therefore region forward.
  • Initiate formal and informal introductions and connections with the Chamber’s bi-state membership through varied communications and in-person gatherings and meetings thereby developing strong and trusting relationships with key constituencies. Consistently communicate relevancy and “value add” of Chamber membership, connecting membership with tangible outcomes to re-ignite spirit of optimism and pride, and re-engaging membership at all levels.
  • Develop and maintain highly effective working relationships with key elected and appointed officials at municipal, county and state levels to renew levels of confidence in the Chamber. Proactively reach out to varied constituency groups, including minority organizations, and re-build relationships with any who may feel alienated, uninvolved, or left behind.
  • Demonstrate progress toward the expansion of the Chamber’s membership and investor base, including options for new multi-year capital campaign. At minimum maintain, if not improve the Chamber’s financial position with eye toward developing long term sustainable funding sources.
  • Work with Board and staff to evaluate the strategic direction of the Chamber through the review and development of strategic, operational and budgetary plans. Clarify and communicate the organization’s mission and vision as a Chamber of Commerce and Economic Development organization.
  • Actively and intentionally coach and mentor staff to build leadership capacity and effectiveness. Evaluate current staff relative to needs of Chamber and re-align roles and/or make changes so that strengths and talents of staff match with organizational goals. Seek to enhance staff team orientation, cross-training between teams as appropriate to increase understanding and opportunities for advancement into other areas of the organization.
The President & Chief Executive Officer position is an outstanding opportunity for an established executive to lead and grow a successful chamber organization in a dynamic, bi-state community with two distinct political and economic environments.

The new CEO will inherit a dedicated and talented staff who bring significant experience and enthusiasm to their roles and enjoy working with a committed and influential volunteer Board of Directors, with reputations as strong business advocates across the region. In addition, the Chamber is the lead driver in marketing the Quad Cities in it business attraction activities and is frequently called upon to lead civic and community betterment projects across the region. Residents of the Quad Cities are fiercely proud of their collective heritage, but also believe “the best is yet to come”. The Chamber seeks a dynamic leader who can embrace and marshal its unique and vast resources to elevate the organization to even higher levels of influence and success in the years to come.

The client organization we represent and WAVERLY PARTNERS firmly support the principle and philosophy of equal opportunity for all individuals, regardless of race, religion, sex, age, national origin or disability. If you are aware of an outstanding chamber or business executive who meets these requirements and would be interested in evaluating this dynamic opportunity, please contact WAVERLY PARTNERS, the executive search firm retained by the Quad Cities Chamber Board on this search and the “preferred provider” of executive search services of the Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives. Email

Eric N. Peterson

Managing Director & Principal
Cleveland, Ohio 440.892.5961 

Deborah M. Galbraith
Managing Director & Principal
Kansas City, Kansas 785.856.9273

Contact Information

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