The Utah Valley Chamber of Commerce thanks Rona Rahlf for her six years of service as President/CEO and welcomes Stan Lockhart as its interim President/CEO.
Building on Success
Rona Rahlf recently announced she was stepping down as the Utah Valley Chamber of Commerce (Chamber) President/CEO, which put the Chamber’s Board of Directors in motion to evaluate its value proposition and explore new opportunities to enhance its service to the local business community as well as provide sustainable leadership to the countywide Valley Visioning initiative and public policy effort that continues to help Utah County shape its future
“Rona has done an exceptional job in managing the Chamber over the past six years,” said Arthur Newell, senior vice president of Bank of Utah and former Chamber Board of Directors chair. “She has brought focus to the Chamber and taken events and policy advocacy to new levels of excellence. Chamber stakeholders are united in thanking Rahlf for her leadership and celebrate her success as the Chamber’s third President/CEO.”
Under Rahlf’s leadership, the Chamber, in association with all other chambers of commerce in Utah County, launched the Valley Visioning initiative that has brought business leaders, citizens, and public officials together to coordinate the Valley’s growth over the next 50 years. “Utah County is expected to double in population by 2050 and add an additional 1 million residents by 2065,” said Ari Bruening, CEO of Envision Utah, which has helped facilitate the Valley Visioning initiative. “Rona has played a key role in bringing the right stakeholders together to help the county envision and plan for its future. We look forward to continuing our important work with the new Chamber leadership.”
New leadership begins now with Stan Lockhart, who has volunteered to serve and was appointed as the Utah Valley Chamber Interim President/CEO through September 2020, during which the Chamber Board will conduct a formal search for the next Chamber President/CEO. Lockhart, whose full-time job as a lobbyist and business consultant with 30 years of experience in the technology industry (specifically in computer software sales and semiconductor manufacturing), understands the business community of Utah Valley and has been instrumental in bringing thousands of jobs to Utah.
“We are very fortunate to have Stan lead our transition at the Utah Valley Chamber,” said Chris Yadon, executive director of The Younique Foundation and current Chamber Board Chair. “He is respected, loved, and lauded by business and community leaders throughout the Valley and State. His service will be key as we pivot and execute on the Chamber’s mission moving forward.”
Additionally, Lockhart has served on a myriad of business and community boards and volunteered his expertise on behalf of multiple causes and organizations, including the Utah’s STEM Action Center, Provo City (City Council, Planning Commission, Board of Adjustment, and Provo Library Board), Boy Scouts Utah National Parks Council, Boys and Girls Clubs of Utah County, Utah Alliance of Boys & Girls Clubs, Thanksgiving Point, Lone Peak Hospital, Utah Manufacturers Association, Utah Technology Council, Utah Taxpayer Association, Utah State Council on Workforce Services, and Rocky Mountain Power.
Clarifying the Chamber’s Plan Moving Forward
The Chamber Board sent a communication June 10, 2020 to its members that has resulted in some confusion—having some members believe that the Utah Valley Chamber was suspending its operation indefinitely, which is not the case. While COVID-19 has dramatically disrupted the economy, it has also compelled the Chamber, like many businesses, to examine its value proposition and pivot to streamline services and operations to better meet the expectations and needs of its members.
After careful review of the Chamber’s budget and operations, the Chamber Board voted unanimously on June 9, 2020, to temporarily pause operations so it could evaluate and refine its service model. The Chamber Board Executive Committee subsequently convened the Chamber’s Board of Governors (former board members and chairs) and interested stakeholders to help assess the Chamber’s value proposition, ensure it is meeting the needs of its members, and coordinate the grander vision for Utah Valley in partnership with the other local chambers and stakeholders in the County.
“The Board acted quickly to ensure the Chamber and new leadership would have the resources needed to implement and invest in strategies going forward,” said Yadon. “At this inflection point, it is the right business decision to examine the Chamber’s service model and supporting organization to best meet member needs and help shape the economic prosperity of Utah Valley. Lockhart’s leadership will be key to assist the Chamber in this process.”
Regarding his willingness to be the Chamber’s interim President/CEO, Lockhart said, “It is time for me to give back to the community that has given me so much. Provo, Orem, and the rest of the Valley are among the most innovative business areas in the United States and a place where families want to live, learn, work, and play. From the largest names in the business world to the startup entrepreneur and every kind of business in between, there is a continued need for leadership in our business community, and the Utah Valley Chamber is positioned to provide that leadership by uniting businesses to common causes. We must continue to do more and help businesses solve their most pressing issues.”
Chamber Board of Governors member Jessica Egbert (Rocky Mountain University of Health Professions) and Board of Directors member Cameron Martin (community member) are helping Lockhart manage the Chamber’s operational functions during its transition. The Board’s executive committee has asked chair-elect, Janae Moss (RBM Building Services), to lead strategic discussions with stakeholders to refine the Chamber’s service model, clarify its value proposition, and position it for success going forward. The Board of Directors has the final say on approving Chamber strategies, structure, and new leadership.
Call To Action
The Utah Valley Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors invites business leaders to get involved with the Chamber, offer suggestions on how the Chamber can best support their business needs, and to nominate individuals they think can best position the Utah Valley Chamber for success as its next President/CEO. Requests, suggestions, and nominations should be emailed to [email protected].