Mike Neal Looks Forward to Chamber Lead Position
OPENING DAY: Mike Neal, the new president and CEO of the Tulsa Metro Chamber, talks to the media and members of the Chamber staff during a press conference on July 18.
GTR Newspapers photo
The Tulsa Metro Chamber’s Board of Directors recently announced the selection of Mike Neal as the new president and chief executive officer.
Neal most recently served as the president and CEO of the Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce, middle Tennessee’s largest business organization that represents a 10-county area and 3,200 businesses. During his four-year leadership Neal oversaw all strategies for the Chamber and its affiliates, which included the Nashville Downtown Partnership, Nashville Health Care Council, Nashville Sports Council, Nashville Technology Council, North Nashville Community Development Corporation, Gaylord Hotels Music City Bowl Presented by Bridgestone, and Success PAC.
“Mike is a top-tier Chamber professional with the experience and knowledge to drive our region forward,” said Steve Turnbo, the chamber’s chairman of the board of directors and chairman of Schnake Turnbo Frank, Inc. “Together with our volunteer business leaders, Mike will create a new era of regional development to benefit our business community, our citizens, the City of Tulsa and our surrounding community partners.”
“I am so delighted to be coming to such a vibrant community as the metropolitan Tulsa and northeast Oklahoma region,” said Neal. “The Tulsa Metro Chamber has long been recognized as one of the top urban Chambers in America.”
Neal’s noted accomplishments at the Nashville Chamber include attracting major headquarters like Nissan North America, Louisiana-Pacific and Caremark Rx, to growing existing businesses. Nashville has achieved numerous successes in economic development during his tenure there.
Neal’s four years as president and CEO were marked by chamber efforts to gain more influence on public policy. With a renewed legislative focus, the Chamber released its most comprehensive legislative agenda in history.
For the past two years in a row, Nashville has been named the nation’s top metro for business expansions and relocations by Expansion Management magazine. In June 2006 Nashville was named the nation’s smartest place to live by Kiplinger’s Personal Finance.
The Tulsa Metro Chamber has a full-time professional staff of 45 in the areas of economic development, convention and visitor development, government affairs, community betterment, small business and membership services. Through 2,600 member organizations, the Chamber represents more than 175,000 regional employees and utilizes 1,700 volunteers to achieve its mission. Last year, the American Chamber of Commerce Executives named the Tulsa Metro Chamber as the Nation’s Best Chamber and received the Award of Excellence in the largest membership category.
In June 2005, the Chamber launched an aggressive campaign to raise $9 million through private sector investments to fund its economic development program. The new plan, titled Tulsa’s Future, is an aggressive, five-year program to grow and create 26,000 jobs in the metro Tulsa region. The Chamber’s Convention and Visitors Bureau is undergoing a massive branding campaign to market the region’s newest visitor attractions, including the BOk Arena.
“I am blessed to inherit an exceptional, very talented group of staff professionals. I am ready to roll up my sleeves and work hand in hand with Tulsa’s civic leadership and this great staff family. I’m also pleased to follow two great gentlemen that have served this Chamber so effectively for the past 40 years. I have the highest regard for my friends, Clyde Cole and Jay Clemens,” Neal said.
Neal is heavily involved in the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and serves on their Transportation Infrastructure & Logistics Committee, Chamber of Commerce Committee and Committee of 100. An active member of the American Chamber of Commerce Executives (ACCE), Neal has earned several professional designations, including the Certified Chamber Executive (CCE) designation and the Certified Community Developer (CCD). He received the prestigious Chairman’s Award, the highest national award given by the ACCE. Neal is a member of the ACCE Board of Directors and Finance Committee and Chairman-elect of the Certification Commission. He served as Chairman of ACCE’s Government Relations Specialty Interest Group. He is also currently Chairman of the Tennessee Chamber of Commerce Executives.
“Jana, the girls and I are very much looking forward to making the move to Tulsa. We leave behind wonderful memories and friends in Music City, a really fabulous community,” said Neal. “I was fortunate to work with an extraordinary staff and a great group of volunteers in a community with an outstanding public – private partnership. We’re excited about making new friends and establishing fabulous relationships here.”