Chamber hires new CEO

Richard Kennedy

The Top of Virginia Regional Chamber will be under new leadership when incoming CEO Richard Kennedy assumes the position on Oct. 3.

Kennedy is former CEO of the Fall Brook, California, Chamber of Commerce in northern San Diego County. He held that position for three years, ending his tenure there in 2013. He replaces Christine Kriz, who left the position in May after roughly nine months in the role to become the director of the Small Business Development Center at Lord Fairfax Community College.

A native of Arizona, Kennedy relocated to this area two years ago for family reasons. Since that time he has done work with the Top of Virginia Regional Chamber as well as with Apple Country Head Start. Kennedy’s background is in finance, but he says he helps local charities and nonprofits in any way he can.

Kennedy said that he’s excited to start work for the chamber.

“I’m looking forward to working with the whole community and building a relationship with the community and looking forward to helping businesses with any challenges and hoping to get a little more visibility,” Kennedy said. “It’s a regional chamber, which is a little different (Kennedy worked for a city chamber in California). I get a chance to reach out further and help facilitate the growth of the businesses here.”

Kennedy said that during his time in the area, he’s been able to get a feel for how the chamber operates and said he’s liked what he’s seen.

“I’m pleased with the work they do,” he said. “They’ve got a strategic plan in place and I’ve had a chance to review that and I basically want to take it to the next level. I want to create a go-to organization for the community and businesses.”

Osborne F. Abbey, interim CEO for the chamber, said that the process that led to Kennedy’s hiring was very involved and comprehensive.

“The advertisements were opened and we accepted resumes and letters of interest through July 5 and the process opened May 8,” Abbey said. “Once the application process closed, there was an initial screening of each candidates resume and cover letter to determine whether or not the exhibited one of 11 categories that the board chose that their next CEO should have.”

The ensuing reductions of applicants centered around a numerical scale, which Abbey described as “transparent but very professional,”

Kennedy lives in Frederick County near Stephens City with his wife Marla. The couple has two children and two grandchildren.

Contact staff writer Nathan Budryk at 540-465-5137 ext. 155, or nbudryk@nvdaily.com