The Wichita Regional Chamber of Commerce has appointed John Rolfe as its new president and CEO. Upon starting his first day on October 4th, Rolfe will be the first Black man appointed to this position.
During a local search for a new leader, a search committee consisting of Chamber board members and community partners selected Rolfe as the ideal candidate to elevate and lead the Chamber.
“The selection committee was intentional about supporting the Chamber’s commitment to diversity and inclusion, resulting in a very diverse candidate pool including gender, age, race, industry, and more,” commented Junetta Everett, immediate past chair of the Chamber board. “Although not the reason for the selection, it is history.”
In this position, Rolfe will build relations with community partners, aggressively advocate for reforms that boost the competitiveness of our companies and area, and serve as a public voice on critical community concerns.
“I am honored to be chosen from a field of highly qualified candidates for this position. With the confidence the board has entrusted in me, I look forward to utilizing my skills, expertise, and experience in working with our Chamber board and team to support the growth of our business community,” said Rolfe.
Since 2019, Rolfe has served as the Kansas Leadership Center's Chief Business Officer. During his tenure, he expanded new partnerships by 70%, doubled the company's yearly income, and created and executed many new business development initiatives and strategies.
Before returning to his hometown Wichita in 2019, Rolfe worked for Houston First Corporation as Chief Administrative Officer.
“John is a proven leader with a deep understanding of our community. Well known in our region, he has a wealth of leadership experience in business, civic, and government organizations which allows him to understand the perspectives of all of our members,” said Ben Hutton, chair of the Chamber board and CEO of Hutton.
Rolfe previously served as Vice-President of Economic Development for the Wichita Regional Chamber of Commerce from 1999 to 2001.
From 2001 to 2012, Rolfe was President and CEO of Go Wichita Convention and Visitors Bureau. Ten tenure with Go Wichita doubled the visitors to our city, resulting in a $25 million economic impact.
“I believe John is uniquely equipped to leverage his past experiences and intimate knowledge of Wichita to build relationships with our members and community partners and to celebrate our individual and collective stories,” said Damon Young, incoming chair of the Chamber board and president at Mahaney Group. “I simply cannot wait to work with John and to dream big together for our region.”