David May

Fort Collins Chamber head David May to retire at end of 2020

FORT COLLINS — Fort Collins Chamber president and CEO David May will retire at the end of the year after more than 17 years at the group’s helm.

The chamber has already begun searching for a replacement CEO, according to a statement Thursday afternoon.

“The 17½ years in Northern Colorado have been the highlight of my career,” May said. “The region is vibrant and livable. I’m proud of our business community for its support and leadership in helping make this an area we’re all proud to live in.”

May’s career began in the Independence, Missouri, Chamber of Commerce in 1980, where he began in communications before being named president. He later was president and CEO of the Sarasota, Florida, Chamber of Commerce in 1991, and then was hired as a vice president with the United States Chamber in Washington before joining the Fort Collins chamber in 2003.

“We’ve been fortunate to have David as our leader for so long,” said Nick Haws, chairman of the chamber’s board of directors. “He has been a tireless advocate for a strong economy and business. The business community and region have benefited tremendously from his leadership. The chamber’s budget doubled and membership grew during his tenure. We are grateful and wish him the very best in a well-earned retirement.”

During his tenure, May was notable for his fervent promotion of the Fix North I-25 effort to secure government funding for upgrades to add lanes to the portion of the highway between Longmont and Fort Collins, helping secure funding of $935 million for the project. That section is a major thoroughfare between Northern Colorado and the Denver metro area. He is also a supporter of Fix Colorado Roads, a broader advocacy group for roadway upgrades across the state.

“A lot of people and organizations deserve credit for getting the work started on North I-25,” May said. “This effort has been a showcase of strong leaders in Weld and Larimer counties and great regional cooperation.”

May will continue to represent the chamber on several initiatives until a new leadership team settles in, according to the press release, including Fix North I-25, Northern Colorado Prospers and Re-ignite Our Economy. 

May said he had planned to retire this past summer but stayed on because of COVID-19. “I needed to stay put as the chamber helped our businesses cope with a bad situation,” he said.

“I like to work and figured I’d work until I died at my desk! Then as I got older, I realized I might actually die at my desk! What’s the fun in that?! I have a lot of other things I want to do while I have the good health and energy to do them. I won’t be disappointed about missing another government budget meeting, but I would be disappointed if I don’t do some of the other things on my life list.” 

Community members spoke highly of May’s tenure.

“David has a been a true leader in Northern Colorado. He always provides organization and vision to any project,” said Kevin Unger, past chamber chairman and president and CEO of UCHealth Northern Region. “During his tenure, David has been recognized nationally as one of the most effective chamber executives in the United States. David will truly be missed, and I wish him the best in his future endeavors.  He should be proud of his accomplishments and the community owes him a debt of gratitude for his work over the years.”

“David is one of the brightest, hardest working executives I have ever met,” said Steve Stiesmeyer, former chamber chairman and director of corporate real estate for Woodward. “His ability to set high level critical strategies and then deliver to those commitments is unrivaled. He has been an over-achiever since day one and has never shied away from any challenging situation.”

Haws said the chamber has engaged the services of Waverly Partners to consult on the search process.

“The goal is to build on our momentum,” he said.

May was unavailable for an interview Thursday afternoon.

FORT COLLINS — Fort Collins Chamber president and CEO David May will retire at the end of the year after more than 17 years at the group’s helm.

The chamber has already begun searching for a replacement CEO, according to a statement Thursday afternoon.

“The 17½ years in Northern Colorado have been the highlight of my career,” May said. “The region is vibrant and livable. I’m proud of our business community for its support and leadership in helping make this an area we’re all proud to live in.”

May’s career began in the Independence, Missouri, Chamber of Commerce in 1980, where he began in communications before being named president. He later was president and CEO of the Sarasota, Florida, Chamber of Commerce in 1991, and then was hired as a vice president with the United States Chamber in Washington before joining the Fort Collins chamber in 2003.

“We’ve been fortunate to have David as our leader for so long,” said Nick Haws, chairman of the chamber’s board of directors. “He has been a tireless advocate for a strong economy and business. The business community and region have benefited tremendously from his leadership. The chamber’s budget doubled and membership grew during his tenure. We are grateful and wish him the very best in a well-earned retirement.”

During his tenure, May was notable for his fervent promotion of the Fix North I-25 effort to secure government funding for upgrades to add lanes to the portion of the highway between Longmont and Fort Collins, helping…