The Fort Collins Area Chamber of Commerce didn’t have to look far for its new CEO.
Ann Hutchison, the chamber’s longtime executive vice president, was named Wednesday to succeed David May when he retires at the end of the year.
Hutchison, a Fort Collins native, said being a CEO of a chamber of commerce was not on her “to do” list. “But I did have being CEO of this chamber and representing this business community on my to-do list.
“I am so honored to have had the opportunity” to represent the business community for 17 years. “To move into this role and know I can do that moving ahead is really exciting and something I can’t wait to do.”
She will assume her new role Jan. 1.
“Ann is a proven leader,” said chamber board Chairman Nick Haws. “We’ve benefited from her work for 17 ½ years. Elevating her to CEO provides continuity and stability while also injecting new ideas, energy, and enthusiasm into the chamber.”
Fort Collins business:Encompass Technologies buys start-up beer, wine delivery app Handoff
Hutchison graduated from the University of Northern Colorado in Greeley with double majors in speech communication/journalism and mass communications.
She joined the chamber in February 2003, returning to her hometown after working as a county extension agent for 4-H in Finney County, Kansas, and marketing coordinator of a regional accounting firm there.
“I am a Northern Colorado girl, a native of Fort Collins. I can say I was born at Poudre Valley Hospital, so the fact that I can be a part of creating our future is exciting,” she said. “This is my home.”
After serving as policy committee coordinator, Hutchison was promoted to executive vice president where she managed the chamber’s communications and event departments. She helped in the day-to-day operations, managed issues and political advocacy as well as the chamber’s Leadership Fort Collins and Leadership Northern Colorado programs.
Most recently, she has helped lead the community pandemic economic Response, Recovery and Reignite efforts.
Rise and shine with the Coloradoan: Start your day with the morning’s top news in the Daily Briefing newsletter. Sign up today!
“I appreciate the board’s confidence in me and look forward to leading the chamber,” Hutchison said. “Having a strong economy and business community is foundational to having a great community. Our job is to advocate for that. When we get that right, we can continue to enjoy the wonderful quality of life we have in Northern Colorado.”
Hutchison said she’ll be focused on three short-term goals: listen, economy, advocacy.
“Being new in the role, I need to spend time listening to members and leaders about needs and challenges while focusing on rebuilding our damaged economy and advocating for business,” she said.
Hutchison takes on her new role with an economy still in the midst of a global pandemic, a challenge she said “was something like we’ve never seen before.
“Times have been incredibly challenging for a wide swath of the community, but I couldn’t be more proud of how the business community has reacted and really rallied to take on the challenge and continue to make sure community members have jobs, that businesses can survive and are pivoting so businesses can thrive in the future.”
Hutchison and May both arrived in 2003, working side-by-side for the past 17 years.
“Many organizations would love to have someone of Ann’s caliber,” May said. “Promoting her to CEO was a smart decision by the Chamber Board.”
Pat Ferrier is a senior reporter covering business, health care and growth issues in Northern Colorado. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please support her work and that of other Coloradoan journalists by purchasing a subscription today.