Chamber gets new CEO

Published 9:47 pm Wednesday, October 30, 2013

The Hampton Roads Chamber of Commerce has a new president and chief executive officer with some direct ties to Suffolk.

Bryan K. Stephens has been selected as the Chamber’s new President and CEO. The Chamber’s Regional Board of Directors voted Wednesday to approve Stephens for the position after a search committee that reported to the executive committee conducted an extensive nationwide search.



Stephens will begin work in his new position on Nov. 4.


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A retired colonel in the U.S. Army, Stephens’ last military assignment was as chief of operations of the Joint Warfighting Center at the U.S. Joint Forces Command in Suffolk, were he had also served as brigade commander, division chief of staff and chief of staff.

Following his Army service, Stephens worked for SAIC in Suffolk as senior account manager for Joint and Army Programs, where he provided program management and consulting services to joint military operations and other organizations.

“I am honored to join the Hampton Roads Chamber of Commerce,” Stephens said. “The Chamber’s work is vital to the region’s business community, and I look forward to working with the Chamber’s board, volunteers and staff to grow the organization and to promote the interest and ensure the livelihood of local businesses.”

Stephens returns to Hampton Roads from San Antonio, Texas, where he was president and CEO of Kalmar RT Center LLC. It is a specialized manufacturer of rough terrain material handling equipment used by companies operating in oil and gas, construction, remote logistics, intermodal logistics, mining, forestry and governments.

Prior to taking that position, Stephens was vice president and executive director of military programs for Allison Transmission Inc. in Indianapolis, Ind., where he was responsible for a full range of operations including sales, marketing, finance, engineering, purchasing and quality control.

He led global operations encompassing U.S. military sales and all foreign allies with focus on the Middle East, Southwest Asia and Europe.

“We had many strong candidates from throughout the country,” said Deborah Stearns, chair of the Chamber’s board. “Bryan Stephens was the ideal choice. He brings more than 35 years of diverse business, manufacturing and operational, domestic and international experience to the Chamber. With his exceptional background and experience he is uniquely positioned to represent every stakeholder in Hampton Roads.”

Stephens will oversee a staff of 32 and will also serve as chairman, president, or board member of four subsidiary organizations including the Small Business Development Center of Hampton Roads, ChamberSolutions, the Hampton Roads Sports Commission and the Hampton Roads Chamber Foundation.

Coming from a military family, Stephens is a graduate of West Virginia University with a degree in political science. He also received a Master of International Studies at the U.S. Army War College in Carlisle, Pa., and a Master of Business Administration from Golden Gate University in San Francisco, Calif.