Some expressed surprise, but local leaders are applauding the choice of R. Patt Lilly to lead the St Joseph Metro Chamber. Lilly was chosen to replace former CEO and President Ted Allison, who left the job last August.
St Joseph Mayor Bill Falkner: “I think it’s a great choice. I think he knows the territory. He’s been here before and it was successful under his leadership. I look forward to working with him.”
Interim CEO Steve Hamilton: “I’m very pleased with this choice. Patt has significant experience, not only with the Chamber on the economic development side, but he worked with the city. He’s run a large private business. Tremendous background, good leadership, good vision, he’s a good man to have back in the Chamber.”
Lilly seems comfortable moving back to the chamber. “I missed the work,” he said in an interview.
“I was City Manager in St Joseph before I came to the Chamber, and I really miss the community work. And, being able to lead an organization doing work that makes a difference in the community is really what led me here.”
He listed job growth and strengthening the public/private partnership as top goals.
“We need to continue to keep focused on job growth. Supporting local business, looking for opportunities for new jobs coming to the community, that’s certainly an important focus. Also, we’re a bit unique in St Joseph. We have a public/private partnership that supports economic development, and making sure that we continue to strengthen that partnership will be important to our future success as well.”
Lilly will end his tenure at Triumph Foods on March 8, and will take the reins at the Chamber March 11. During his first week as Chamber CEO, Lilly will take part in the annual Washington D.C. Fly-In, the Chamber’s annual outreach to lawmakers and staffers in the nation’s capital.