We are excited to announce that our 2017 Board of Directors has officially been instated. To help members learn more about our Board, we have added a new component to our monthly e-newsletter. Our “5 Questions with the Board” feature will profile a different Board member each month!
For our first edition, we welcome and introduce our new Board Chair, Mr. Peter B. Wilbur! Peter is the Chief of Staff and Vice President for Community Relations at Roger Williams University.
1. What was your primary motivation for becoming a member of the Newport County Chamber of Commerce?
As we know, relationships are what it is all about and this is a large part of what I do for the University. I saw the Newport County Chamber of Commerce as a player in the relationship/connection business and a pathway for the University to engage its students with the business community for the joint effort of economic development in the State of RI. Connecting Higher Education with the business community is critical, especially when it comes to workforce and pipeline development in Rhode Island. Newport County represents a robust and differentiated economy that is entirely different from the rest of the State.
2. What do you find most interesting about your business or industry?
I love being involved in an activity that provides others with the tools they need to lead better lives. Education is certainly one of those areas. Times have changed for higher education and the marketplace for prospective students and their parents is focused on gainful employment and the launching of careers. Roger Williams University is acutely aware of this market demand and has taken the initiative to distinguish itself through project-based experiential education. The development of our Community Partnerships Center has become the clearinghouse for harnessing the resources of the university (faculty & students) to assist businesses, non-profits, municipalities and government agencies with important projects throughout the State.
3. How has your membership with the Newport County Chamber of Commerce helped to advance your business or industry?
Roger Williams University has deep Rhode Island roots and while the major portion of our student body is from out of state, membership in the Chamber has enabled us to renew and enhance our Rhode Island focus, especially with the engagement of the business community in a joint effort to create value and economic development in the State of RI. The Roger Williams University Community Partnerships Center is just one aspect of that accomplishment. The Chamber is a perfect venue and partner for engaging Roger Williams University with the business community and the State of Rhode Island.
4. What is your favorite Newport County Chamber of Commerce event or program?
Truthfully, the events and programs offered by the Chamber are like family…. I love them all! The networking and relationship building opportunities offered by these events and programs is invaluable, particularly the Economic Development series, the Annual Meeting and the Chamber Connections. I must say that I also enjoy the government relations activities as well. I guess I do love them all!
5. What do you hope to bring to the Newport County Chamber of Commerce as Board Chair in 2017?
The southern portion of our great State represents an entirely different and unique opportunity for economic development and the resulting positive impact on its communities. The role of Chambers of Commerce has changed as well. We must now focus on distinguishing ourselves as a Chamber such that the value proposition for becoming and remaining a member is strongly self-evident. My hope, as both a board member and board chair, is to provide the needed leadership, support and focus that will result in an even more robust and nimble Chamber that is both relevant and supportive to the ever-changing needs of our business community within the region.
We appreciate Mr. Wilbur’s dedication to the Newport County Chamber of Commerce and look forward to working with him this year!