Fort Thomas Resident Named 6th President & CEO of NKY Chamber of Commerce
Brent Cooper has been named the President and CEO of the Northern Kentucky Chamber of Commerce. He had been filling in for Trey Grayson in an interim role after Grayson resigned in May.
Cooper, 47, who has led Covington-based C-Forward Information Technologies since he founded the company at age 29 and who has twice served as interim Chamber president, was chosen following a thorough vetting and interview process of numerous outstanding candidates managed by the Cincinnati executive search firm Centennial Inc.
"I am honored, humbled and grateful to be selected to lead an organization that I admire and that has been a part of my life for years," Cooper said. "I know from experience that the Chamber is a successful, committed and tireless advocate for the business community.
"As we look forward to the Chamber celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2019, I stand ready to provide the same type of focused and engaged leadership that has been the hallmark of past Chamber presidents," Cooper said.
Cooper will maintain ownership in C-Forward but has turned over day-to-day operations to his management team.
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The Executive Search Committee selected a national search firm, Centennial, to lead the committee and board through a thorough, efficient and effective process for this critical leadership position. Centennial's “4C Recruiting Process” ensures alignment of stakeholders in a very effective and thorough way. This included extensive evaluation of character, culture, chemistry and competency. Centennial is known for their detail orientation, deep network and national executive search experience which led us to the right leader for the Northern Kentucky Chamber.
The position attracted an impressive national talent pool that included business leaders and executives who had a deep interest in the opportunity. Executive Search Committee members saw that as an indication that Northern Kentucky’s growth and vibrancy inspired leaders nationwide to want to be a part of the region’s success, potential and opportunities.
"We believe this is our time," said Chamber Chairman Bob Heil, president and CEO of KLH Engineers. "We are excited to have the energy level, passion, knowledge and relationships of Brent Cooper at the helm. Brent understands first-hand the impact a successful Chamber of Commerce has on businesses. He also understands how important it is for the Northern Kentucky Chamber to be the strongest organization it can be."
Incoming Chamber chairwoman Rhonda Whitaker, director of Government & Community Relations for Duke Energy Kentucky, said Cooper's experience with the Chamber, in the community and in growing his business stood out in the selection process.
"I've had the great pleasure of working with Brent Cooper on various community boards and Chamber committees for years, and have always been impressed with his energy and passion for Northern Kentucky and the entire Greater Cincinnati region," Whitaker said.
Centennial President Mike Sipple Jr. said the Chamber's Executive Search Committee engaged their firm to identify leaders who define what it means to lead, connect and advocate.
Sipple said Cooper's attributes that swayed and impressed the Search Committee included his proven leadership skills and ability to build and guide high performing teams; his ability to see, communicate and develop a vision; his network of regional, state and national relationships; and his knowledge and understanding of complex issues facing the business community.
"Brent's leadership, passion, business growth and an entrepreneur's spirit was the right match for one of our regions premier business building organizations," Sipple said. "Brent also brings a tremendous regional and statewide perspective to the conversation of one of the hottest marketplaces in the country.”
"I've always truly believed is this Chamber," Cooper said. "I know the staff, the membership, the issues, challenges and opportunities we face as a Chamber and as a community. Every member of my management team at C-Forward has gone through the Chamber's Leadership Northern Kentucky program. And I know from my past experience what this Chamber has done and what it will be able to accomplish. This Chamber helped me grow my business, and it helped me grow as a leader."