Tom Kern

Lawrence, Kan., Chamber of Commerce

Tom Kern

Thomas J. Kern named Steamboat's new chamber CEO

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— Thomas J. Kern, the president and CEO of the Chamber of Commerce in Lawrence, Kan., will be the new leader of the Steamboat Springs Chamber Resort Association. His last day in Lawrence is Sept. 23.

Kern is a longtime visitor to Steamboat Springs who has formed friendships here, Steamboat Chamber board president Jeff Steinke said.

"I can't tell you how excited I am about Tom," Steinke said. "He's a brilliant mind."

The post had been open since Sandy Evans Hall left her position in March after 25 years with the local chamber. Kern will take on the title of chief executive officer.

Kern has experience in leading a large resort-oriented festival in Michigan and business development-oriented chambers of commerce in large metropolitan areas. In his career he has been both a city manager and a county commissioner.

He was in his job in Lawrence for about three years.

“Tom has been a strong and visionary leader for the Chamber,” Lawrence Chamber of Commerce board chairwoman Cindy Yulich said in a news release. “His focus on growing business in Lawrence and his efforts to build consensus in the community form a foundation for our future success. We are sorry to see Tom leave and greatly appreciate the commitment he has shown to Lawrence for the past three years.”

Before he took the post in Lawrence, he was the chief operating office for the chamber in Fairfax County, Va., a community of about 1.2 million people just southwest of Washington, D.C. Prior to that, he was executive vice president and COO of the Greater Cincinnati Chamber.

In the first half of this decade he served as both the president of the National Cherry Festival in Traverse City, Mich., and a Grand Traverse county commissioner.

During a video interview with the Lawrence Journal-World in September 2008, while interviewing for the chamber post there, he said he had been thinking of seeking returning to a role as COO of a nonprofit in a mid-sized community in the Midwest.

“I’ve learned that that in order to move forward, it’s about relationship building,” Kern told the Lawrence Journal-World in 2008. “Chambers don’t do anything by themselves — they do it in partnership with the city of Lawrence, Douglas County, with the university. What I do best is working with people and bringing people together to create a common vision, and to move forward on that vision. That’s what I like to do.”

He said that in Cincinnati he helped create a new national identity for the city as the “20-minute city.”

He added that he had played a role there in business retention and in helping existing companies expand their workforces. Kern said he learned a great deal about the process of recruiting new businesses while in Cincinnati and helped to attract national companies like Sara Lee and a surgical division of Johnson and Johnson.

Lawrence is a city of about 100,000 located 41 miles west of Kansas City. It is home to a highly-educated work force due in part to the presence of the University of Kansas, with more than 28,000 students. Lawrence also is home to large medical facilities.

Almost 12,000 members of the 2010 workforce of 47,780 in Lawrence were employed in educational services. Unemployment in Lawrence in April was 5.5 percent compared to about 11 percent in Steamboat Springs.

Comments

Tara Schupner 3 years, 4 months ago

If anyone needs to meet their daily quota of humor ...

The Lawrence Journal-World covered this news, as well, and a particularly sharp individual commented on their story:

"Steamboat is not a big change from Lawrence."

http://www2.ljworld.com/news/2011/jul/28/lawrence-chamber-president-leaving-job-steamboat-s/

Enjoy :)

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exduffer 3 years, 4 months ago

Might as well start the search for the next CEO now.

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Zed 3 years, 4 months ago

Hopefully "Cannabis Town USA" will not make the same mistakes as Bike Town USA and will put the infrastructure and educational programs in place first, before they start promoting us as a world class Cannabis destination. ;-)

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spidermite 3 years, 4 months ago

mmj, Aren't people executed for possession of mj in Kansas?

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Tara Schupner 3 years, 4 months ago

Spidermite - mj "does not exist." It's barely even on the radar map here (I'm in KC). Abortion is what people get hung, drawn and quartered over in Kansas these days. Mj or mmj would actually be a refreshing change from the norm.

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rhys jones 3 years, 4 months ago

Jayhawk -- Hi!! Good to have a KC visitor. I spent many formative Jr High/High School years there -- Prairie Village, actually. Back when the Chiefs were good, even won a Super Bowl. Are the summers as muggy as they used to be? I miss the fireflies.

Bob Dole was governor then, and the Attorney General was ruthless in his pursuit of pot. We found it anyway. That's a tide nobody is going to stop.

Lawrence is a pretty cool town, much like Boulder, a collage town, and the home of KU. Had things beyond my control happened somewhat differently, I might well have gone there rather than WSC in Gunnison.

Of the large cities in which I have visited or lived, KC remains one of my favorites. Thoughtfully designed and developed, it is the home of many city parks and wide parkways, and massive deciduous hardwoods which light up in the fall, making our Aspens pale in comparison. Fall is a special time in KC, especially on Game Day: You could shoot a cannon down the street and not hurt anybody; whoever's not at the game is glued to their TV.

We used to say KC was right in the middle of everything: It's 500 miles to anything!! A virtual oasis, in a sea of prairie.

I love that town, and part of me calls THAT home. Welcome!!

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rhys jones 3 years, 4 months ago

Although I am sure there are collages in Lawrence, I'm pretty sure there is a college too.

I hate it when the spell-checker is RIGHT. ;P

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spidermite 3 years, 4 months ago

Jayhawk 45, I'm glad to hear that. I spent some time ( not in jail) in Manhattan, KS. . There is mj growing in the ditches along side the roadways . I had the urge to harvest but my "hosts" led me to belive that I shouldn't. They became pale when I suggested that. Their only comment was " KS isn't as liberal as CO."

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rhys jones 3 years, 4 months ago

Manhattan is a far cry from Lawrence. The sticks, relatively.

My friend and guide had a whole guitar case full of that Kansas ditch weed. And it never worked for me, until a little brush with Purple Double-Domes, after which everything worked just fine.

I love the old show tune, from the musical Oklahoma: "Everything's up to date in Kansas City -- they've gone about as fur as they can go..." [sic]

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rhys jones 3 years, 4 months ago

Then there was the time, in the Marines, when I hitchhiked from Cherry Point NC to Denver, family home, for some leave on my way to Japan. Found myself by an I-70 interchange in empty western Kansas. Desperately wanted to kick up the buzz, but risky even there, in '70's Kansas. Got picked up by some straggly-haired Kansas farm kid driving a faded blue Comet or Rambler, back when they were still junk. Decided to risk the suggestion, and when I started to get out a joint, he reached under the floormat and pulled out half a joint, said Here, let's try this. Used to Mexican at best, I said Sure, then when we're done we can smoke this one. Sure, if you want to, he said...

Three hits later I said WHOA!! What IS this? Thai stick, he said. I'm gonna crawl in back for a nap; you can take it on into Denver, got a girl I could see. Way cool ride.

Don't sell Kansas short. Hell, I was born there!! Didn't move to Colorado til the ripe old age of 2. (But Mom is a native, as with her clan and some of my siblings). Go Jayhawks!!

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spidermite 3 years, 4 months ago

All of these months I've been reading the bolgs I thought you were from England. Kansas?

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rhys jones 3 years, 4 months ago

The name is Welsh; apparently Mom's side runs through there and Scotland back to Sweden. Yup, I'm just another displaced hick, and thanks for asking!! Wichita was one of many stops on Dad's entrepreneurial trail. John Brown is in a straight line through Grandpa, Mom's Dad, possibly explaining any extreme tendencies.

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rhys jones 3 years, 4 months ago

spider -- Since you apparently missed my remarks to Tom Ross' "heritage" article the other day, and since I have just a moment, now I feel obligated to briefly describe just what a mutt I am.

I made brief mention of the Swedish side... well apparently a George Bellman, great-something grandfather of mine, and named after his direct ancestor, the Poet Laureate of Sweden, bought 2 shares in the Illinois-Indiana land company shortly after the Civil War and plodded west to homestead somewhere in the Ft. Lupton area, bailed on that and made carriages in Boulder. I will pay well for any Bellman carriages our readers find. I can document back to 1871 in Colorado on that side, a marriage certificate. Told ya about the John Brown gene...

Dad's side is equally colorful. His great-or-so-Grandpa enlisted in the only Union regiment from Arkansas in the Civil War, was shot off his horse once, wounded twice, captured twice, and escaped twice. After the war a bitter neighbor sic'd his dog on him, which Grandpa killed with his new hammer, walked on home to the farm... Sheriff comes out, gunfight ensues, Sheriff gets shot -- "and that's when the Joneses left Arkansas."

Grandma Jones had a PhD in Math and worked with NASA on the early Mercury and Gemini programs. Thereby dooming her offspring to lifetimes of numbers; many of her descendants are in computers, myself included.

We rarely lived anywhere more than 3 years, growing up; KC holds the record at 5. My trail started in Wichita, then Loveland, Denver, Sioux Falls, Rapid City, Prairie Village (KC) then back to Denver. You'll notice Kansas' appearance twice in that list. My weak attempt to rerail this conversation back on topic.

So Kansas is cool -- it got this kid started!!

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spidermite 3 years, 4 months ago

Welcome to our new Chamber CEO. I hope you feel at home here. If you have any questions ask Rhys.

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rhys jones 3 years, 4 months ago

Don't ask me. Rhys only pawn, in game of Life.

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