New chamber leader announced

By: Eric Czarnik | Sterling Heights Sentry | Published April 20, 2016




The Sterling Heights Regional Chamber of Commerce and Industry recently looked within its namesake city to find Melanie Davis, its newest president and CEO.

Davis, 45, from Sterling Heights, will take over the job from Wayne Oehmke, 74, from Macomb Township. Oehmke plans to retire from the leadership spot next month.

The president and CEO handles the chamber’s planning and operations, as well as supports the chamber’s estimated 1,300 members via programs, services and events. The role’s objectives include increasing membership and helping launch a new chamber foundation.

Oehmke said he was thrilled with the selection of Davis. He said he has already been working with her, and she has attended meetings with staff and the chamber’s board of directors.

“I’ve known of her over the years and have a high degree of confidence in her, and I think the committee, which I had a part to participate in, made an excellent decision bringing her on board,” he said.

According to the chamber, 40 years of its 55-year history have been under the leadership of Oehmke, whose term has lasted from 2008 to 2016, and Lil Adams, who led from 1976 to 2008.

The chamber’s Succession Committee, led by Mike Kramer, chamber board chairman, selected Davis after a search process that looked at candidates near and far. The chamber’s board of directors then unanimously approved the pick.

Chamber Vice President Patty Le Duc said the hiring committee did a great job in interviewing multiple candidates, including Davis, for the job.

“I think she is going to be a good fit for the organization,” Le Duc said. “She’s got experience in chamber membership. She’s got experience with nonprofit groups. So we’re looking forward to her start date.”

Davis, a Wayne State University graduate, has a history of leadership experience that includes positions at the Adcraft Club of Detroit and the Macomb County Chamber of Commerce. She also worked at the Detroit Regional Chamber and served as vice president of marketing and communications.

She has sat on various boards, including those of local chapters of the American Red Cross and the Public Relations Society of America.

Davis said she has “quite a few years of chamber experience” and has lived in Sterling Heights for most of her life. She said she hopes to expand the Sterling Heights chamber’s social and digital media in fresh ways. She also said she’d like to help create some new and unique sponsorships.

“And in terms of the business community itself, I’d really like to look at the portfolio of programs that the chamber offers and focus on creating more value-added programs that don’t just save members money, but also focus on ones that help members make money …  help them grow their business,” she said.

Find out more about the Sterling Heights Regional Chamber of Commerce and Industry by visiting or by calling (586) 731-5400.