Riehl’s business experience touted
By Ray Lamont
An Essex man with nearly 30 years’ experience in the corporate world has been named as the new CEO of the Cape Ann Chamber of Commerce.
Ken Riehl, 51, was chosen by the Chamber’s search committee to succeed Robert Heidt, who had been appointed the Chamber’s executive director/CEO in December 2011, but left the post here Oct. 1 to take the CEO’s position with the Chamber of Commerce in Glendale, Ariz., a suburb of Phoenix.
Riehl, who comes to the Chamber from an extensive background that includes management posts with Goodrich Corporation, Raytheon and United Technologies — is due to step into his new position with the Chamber on Monday, Dec. 2.
Peter Webber, who usually serves as the Chamber’s senior vice president, has been working in the role of interim Chamber chief in the weeks since Heidt’s departure.
After taking the reins on Dec. 2, Riehl will also join the board and members at the Chamber’s annual membership meeting on Monday, Dec. 9, at Bass Rocks Golf Club from 5 to 7 p.m.
Riehl, who left his most recent position as director of the Westford-based profit and loss center with United Technologies earlier this year, is a 20-plus year resident of Essex who recently joined the Cape Ann Chamber as a member, working as an independent business consultant as president of Riehl Leadership Services.
“I’ve already gotten to know a number of the people in the Chamber, and I’m looking forward to working with them,” Riehl told the Times in a phone interview Friday.
“I think I know the Cape Ann business community, and I’m here to say — I’m not going anywhere,” he said. Prior to Heidt’s tenure, former Chamber director Robert Hastings also served two years after succeeding 30-year Chamber chief Michael Costello of Rockport in 2009.
“I have a lot of roots here, I have a real love for the region, and I basically left the world of Big Business to do more to work with and help smaller businesses and nonprofits in the local level — it’s what I want to do,” said Riehl, who lives with his family on Island Road in Essex. “It’s why I applied for this position, and I’m looking forward to it.”
Riehl, who holds a Bachelor of Science degree in imaging science from Rochester Institute of Technology and a Master’s of Science in business management from Lesley College, said he has met Costello and has spoken with Heidt regarding the Chamber, its operations and potential.
“I think we are well-positioned,” he said. “I think Robert (Heidt) made a lot of good changes, and my plan is to pick up what he’s done and take those ideas forward. My focus will be on growing the Chamber through expansion of Chamber benefits, increasing business partnering and sponsorships, and improving Chamber communication and outreach,” he added.
Riehl was the top choice of the Chamber’s Executive Search Committee and was unanimously endorsed by the Chamber’s Board of Directors at a meeting earlier this week, Webber said.
Ed Collard, president of the Chamber’s Board of Directors who co-chaired the Chamber’s Search Committee with past president Sal Frontiero, said he and his colleagues believe Riehl and his experience will be “a great asset.”
“I am confident that he will continue to build on our already solid foundation with his strong business management background and his love of Cape Ann,” Collard said.