The Greater Durham Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors has named Geoff Durham as its new President and CEO. Durham succeeds Casey Steinbacher who resigned in August of 2015 after eight years as Chamber president to pursue independent consultant work.
Durham’s first day with the Chamber will be April 1. As President, he will help set the future direction of the Durham business community through economic development, public policy and investor relations. He will also work with staff to ensure Chamber programs and services run with a high degree of excellence that its membership has come to expect.
“I’m thrilled to be leading the Durham Chamber of Commerce,” said Durham. “With such a dynamic staff and a highly engaged board, I am confident that we will continue to do great things for this city.”
Durham is no stranger to the City of Durham having served as president and CEO of Downtown Durham Inc. (DDI), an economic development partner of the Durham Chamber. Under his leadership DDI has overseen tremendous real estate growth in the commercial, residential and lodging sectors. In that time, downtown has experienced significant growth in its workforce and has seen its office occupancy rate rise to 94 percent; the number of people living downtown has more than doubled; and there are now triple the number of hotel rooms in the downtown area. Additionally, there is over 700,000 square feet of new office, laboratory, and innovation space approved or currently under construction.
Durham has years of experience in economic development having served as economic development director of the City of Fairfax, Va. and urban district manager for the nationally recognized downtown Silver Spring in Montgomery County, Md.
While in Silver Spring, Md. He was an integral part of the nationally recognized revitalization of the downtown. Durham’s contribution to the continued success of the Silver Spring revitalization has been acknowledged by numerous recognitions to include: the National Association of Counties “Innovative Program Achievement” Award; the Downtown Development Association “Pride in Place” Award; and the Chamber’s “Business & Community” Award for Organization of the Year.
“Geoff has extensive experience in public/private partnerships and we are excited about the energy and vision that he will bring to the Chamber,” said Farad Ali, chair of the Durham Chamber Executive Search Committee.
Working with a national search firm, Jorgenson Consulting, the Chamber introduced three finalists to the full board for consideration. It was Durham’s passion for the Bull City and clear understanding of economic development that made him ideal for the position. “We cast the net far and wide to find the right candidate,” said Ali, “it just so happened that the ideal person was right here in the city.”
Durham is a graduate of Randolph-Macon in Ashland, Virginia. He successfully completed professional certification for Economic Development at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University and commercial finance at the Council of Development Finance Agencies. He currently resides in Durham with his wife and two daughters.