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ABQ Chamber of Commerce Full Of Dusty Old Bones

ABQ Chamber of Commerce Full Of Dusty Old Bones

The dusty old bones at the chamber are clearly more interested in protecting themselves and their political benefactors than in promoting businesses in Albuquerque.

Recently Albuquerque Chamber of Commerce CEO Teri Cole gave Mayor Richard Berry a brand-new public safety award. The outrage from a community ravaged by Berry’s disastrous management of the Albuquerque Police Department was swift and loud. Causing KOB’s Caleb James to anoint Cole with the “Marie Antoinette” award.

Not knowing when to just shut up, another member of the chamber’s board of directors, real estate developer Paul Silverman, came to Cole’s and Berry’s defense by accusing Albuquerque police officers for the dramatic rise in property and violent crime here.

The dusty old bones at the chamber are clearly more interested in protecting themselves and their political benefactors than in promoting businesses in Albuquerque.

Proof of this? Just look at the horrible business climate in Albuquerque over the last eight years. Albuquerque is one of the only major metropolitan areas that has yet to recover from the great recession.

Blame for this horrible business climate and economic malaise must be placed in the lap of Berry and Cole. This is their job, and they have failed.

Berry will be gone in December when a new mayor is elected, but what about Cole? She has been in charge of the Greater Albuquerque Chamber of Commerce since … 1983!

How did Cole remain in this high paying ($170,000 / year, plus benefits) job for 34 years? Is her work at the chamber so stellar that she deserved to remain in place longer than most dot.com companies have been in business? Of course not.

Cole has worked hard to make sure the chamber’s board will never replace her. She has surrounded herself with people who will rubber stamp and protect her lackluster performance. I have to wonder if Silverman and the other board members would keep someone in their private business with a track record that Albuquerque economically has had under Cole. I think not.

Just look at Albuquerque now as compared to 1983, and ask yourself if Cole deserves to stay as CEO? Albuquerque has never broken out economically as a place businesses want to come to, and that is partly on Cole and the chamber’s board. And do you know of any other Chamber of Commerce in America that has kept the same CEO for 34 years? I couldn’t find any.

The longest CEO at any Chamber of Commerce I reviewed was Lane Beattie, who has been CEO of the Salt Lake City Chamber of Commerce since 2004, only 13 years. It doesn’t take long to realize that Salt Lake City is on the top of a lot of great lists for businesses, economic development and community. Whereas Albuquerque has enjoyed a bottom ranking for many years in these same areas.

Thirty-four years is clearly too long for any person to hold the CEO of the chamber. It’s time for the chamber to create a “Longest CEO Award and Retirement Party” and have Richard Berry give it to Teri Cole before December.

If we want to turn Albuquerque around, we need to get rid of all the dusty old bones and allow for new people with dynamic leadership abilities to replace them. It is the only way to move Albuquerque forward.

Here’s a look at other chambers in the area and how long their CEO’s have been on board:

Denver: Kelly Brough, 2009

Phoenix: Todd Sanders, 2009

El Paso: Richard Dayoub, 2007

Albuquerque: Teri Cole, 1983

Las Vegas, NV: Opening currently, Kristin McMillan, 2011 resigned 2017

Salt Lake City: Lane Beattie, 2003

Portland: Colette Walls, 2013

San Diego: Jerry Sanders, 2012

Los Angeles: Gary Toebben, 2006

Tucson: Michael Varney just announced his retirement, 2011

Oklahoma City: Roy Williams, 2004

Dallas: Dale Petroskey, 2014

Colorado Springs: Dirk Draper, 2015

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Moriah Carty is an Albuquerque local with a heavy sense of wanderlust.