Greater Farmington Area Chamber hires new executive director

By: Jonathan Shead | Farmington Press | Published October 7, 2019

 Connor Osborn, 26, of Redford, is the new Greater Farmington Area Chamber of Commerce executive director.

Connor Osborn, 26, of Redford, is the new Greater Farmington Area Chamber of Commerce executive director.

Photo provided by Connor Osborn

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FARMINGTON/FARMINGTON HILLS — A new executive director has been chosen by the Greater Farmington Area Chamber of Commerce board of directors to lead the chamber.

Connor Osborn, 26, of Redford, was selected as the new executive director. He began his new role Sept. 30.

Osborn graduated from Livonia-Franklin High School and earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration, focusing on marketing, from the University of Michigan-Dearborn. He most recently worked as the development and marketing manager for Community Living Centers and has held active roles within the chamber as the leader of the Young Professionals Committee, as a chamber ambassador, and by helping organize events, including this year’s Founders Festival.

Mary Martin, the former director, resigned Aug. 2. She had held the position since December 2016.

Osborn took over the position from chamber Membership Development Director Marica Rodeheffer, who served as the interim director for two months. According to a press release, due to a reorganization of personnel, Rodeheffer recently said goodbye to her position at the chamber.

Chamber board of directors Chairman Duane Reynolds declined to comment further on these personnel decisions, though he said in an email that Osborn and Rodeheffer were the only two candidates slated by the board for an interview.

“I’m very honored. I know it’s a large role to take on, and with my experience at the chamber these last few years and knowing how things work here to a degree, I felt very comfortable coming into this role,” Osborn said. “I’ve already known for some time how things are operating, where things are at and how they run. Now I’m just doing a deeper dive into it, being the director. … I’m very excited to be a part of this community in a larger capacity and be able to make more growth for our businesses.”

Osborn said he’s harnessed a variety of skill sets he can bring into the executive director position. Through his role with Community Living Centers, he’s been able to foster and strengthen concrete relationships with members of the community and business owners. He’s also found success in fundraising, marketing and events management, raising $90,000 for an event he put together in his former role.

Lisa Murrell, the executive director of Community Living Centers, spoke positively of her former employee transitioning into his new role.

“Connor has great interpersonal skills and communication skills. He’s a very likeable person,” Murrell said. “He’s built a lot of really great relationships with the businesses and business owners in Farmington, and that’s what he’s able to offer to the chamber.”

Murrell also touted Osborn’s marketing and fundraising savvy; his go-getter, high-energy attitude; and his passion for community building, saying he used to work 10-to 12-hour days for her without being asked.

Osborn said that if he does find something challenging, he’s “extremely comfortable” with reaching out to his community network for help.

In his first few months, Reynolds said, the board has directed Osborn “to prioritize the rollout of the chamber’s new website and tiered dues structure for members.”

Beyond those items, Osborn is hoping he can focus more on the chamber’s members.

“What I’d love to accomplish is folks seeing more on the member benefits, (and) making sure those who are members of our chamber are reaping all those benefits that we’re offering,” he said. “I really want to grow and flesh that out, and in turn, that should bring more members to our community to be part of our chamber. Ultimately, our members join us for these benefits, and if we’re not able to provide what they’re looking for, we need to go out and make it happen.”

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