Chamber Hires Matt Yancey As New CEO

Matt Yancey was hired as new Davis Chamber of Commerce Director
Matt Yancey was hired as new Davis Chamber of Commerce Director

Experienced Leader Brings New Energy to Increase Prosperity in Davis with Enhanced Partnerships and Business Retention & Expansion – This weekend, after an extensive background search, the Davis Chamber of Commerce has announced the hire of Matt Yancey as CEO to succeed Kemble Pope.

Mr. Yancey arrives with an extensive background in community and economic development at both local and regional levels. For the past seven years, he has served as the Director of Business and Economic Development for the Sacramento Metro Chamber.

He is a native to the region and makes his home in Yolo County with his wife Katie and their young daughter.

“I am both honored and humbled to have been selected as Chief Executive for the Davis Chamber of Commerce,” said Mr. Yancey. “The Davis community is, hands down, the most engaging I have encountered in my career. I’m thrilled at the chance to collaborate with the Board of Directors, Davis businesses, and the community in pursuit of Davis’ economic vitality, particularly at this point in history when the community faces so many key decisions that will chart its course for generations to come.”

2012 Chamber Board Chair Rose Cholewinski, a member of the search committee, stated, “I am looking forward to having Matt Yancey as our new CEO. As the Director of the Business and Economic Development for the Metro Chamber, I believe he brings enthusiasm, knowledge of our area and will provide forward thinking to our business community in his new position. I also believe he will keep the momentum going as Kemble steps away from the position. I’m confident that the entire Davis community will continue to benefit from the new energy that Matt will bring to the Chamber of Commerce.”

A graduate of the economics program at CSU, Chico, Mr. Yancey launched his career with the university-affiliated Center for Economic Development, conducting research on sustainable community indicators. He then went on to a position with the consulting firm of Applied Development Economics (ADE).

While with ADE, Mr. Yancey secured, managed, and successfully closed out a variety of grant-funded community and economic development projects on behalf of municipal clients. He later specialized in retail market, and fiscal and economic impact analyses.

At the Metro Chamber, Mr. Yancey “defined and honed his unwavering commitment to collaboration as the key to economic prosperity and vitality for regions and localities. Among many other chamber-related duties, he has been responsible for shepherding the Capital Region’s Business Bridge Partnership, a coalition of nearly 20 public and private sector entities in the capital region committed to jointly addressing issues of business retention and expansion.”

The Chamber release continued, “Through his leadership, that partnership expanded (despite the recession); facilitated over 13,000 company visits since 2007; and won multiple awards of excellence including the International Economic Development Council’s award for regionalism and cross-border collaboration in 2011.”

“Throughout the selection process, the entire Search Committee and Executive Board were continually impressed with Matt’s keen awareness of the local and regional issues facing us today, as well as his deep understanding of the role economic development plays in maintaining and enhancing the social fabric of a community,” said 2014 Board Chair, Jennifer Nitzkowski, of Carbahal & Company. “Matt also understands the importance of providing a high return on investment to our 600+ members. The entire Board is excited to begin working with Matt to continue advancement of the Chamber’s mission, goals and objectives.”

The Chamber release continued, “Under the stewardship of outgoing CEO Kemble K. Pope, the Davis Chamber has experienced tremendous success. Pope has improved the Chamber’s financial position; strengthened its partnerships with many local and regional organizations; launched multiple initiatives to improve the Davis economy; and, helped the Chamber become a more active and relevant voice in local and regional public policy. Through this leadership, the organization is now positioned at the nexus of a renewed local and regional focus on economic development with the resources necessary to capture opportunities that will benefit the entire community.”

“Three years ago we asked Kemble to step up and help the Davis Chamber through a crucial transition,” said Mabel Salon, Director of Community Relations for UC Davis and Davis Chamber Board Member. “Kemble exceeded all expectations and under his guidance the chamber continues to evolve as a relevant, forward-thinking and nimble organization.”

“I’m exceedingly proud of what we’ve accomplished in the past three years,” said Kemble Pope. “My departure from the Chamber is certainly bittersweet as we are poised to launch the 2020 Prosperity Plan, our 6-year strategic action plan, with an engaged membership and a stellar corps of volunteer leaders. With Matt’s broad experience, commitment to collaboration and existing professional relationships in Davis, I am confident that, in passing the baton, our continued momentum and quest for excellence will be maintained. I look forward to watching Matt lead our community to increased prosperity and new heights of fiscal, social and environmental sustainability.”

Of Yancey’s selection as CEO, Ms. Salon went on to say, “I am confident that he will impart his own style of leadership and wisely take us through the next phase of our evolution. Matt’s experience in the chamber world, ability to work with and for volunteers, and his knowledge of the business community and its needs, will serve us well. Coupled with his familiarity of the region and ties in Yolo County, Matt is a perfect fit for the chamber CEO position and I look forward to working with him.”

According to the Chamber release, “The 2020 Prosperity Plan has been created over the past 12 months by the Chamber Board and Staff to serve as a living, breathing action plan for the Davis Chamber’s activities that are in alignment with the Next Economy Capital Region Prosperity Plan. The Next Economy Plan was recently designated by the US Economic Development Administration as a Certified Economic Development Strategy for the 6-county Capital Region. With this plan in place, the region is now more favorably positioned to compete for federal funding in support of economic development.”

“The Davis Chamber has done exceedingly well in positioning itself as a regional leader in economic development,” said Roger Niello, President and CEO of the Sacramento Metro Chamber. “In selecting Matt as their next CEO they have reaffirmed their commitment to staying that course. Since its inception, he has been a key player in the Metro Chamber’s role as a leader in Next Economy. Sad as I am to see him move on, I’m pleased to know that our region will continue to benefit from his enduring drive to help people achieve a level of success tomorrow that is greater than they are capable of today.”

Mr. Yancey will spend the next couple of weeks winding down his duties with the Metro Chamber and transitioning to the Davis Chamber, officially taking the helm on August 26. Kemble Pope and Matt Yancey will work together for several weeks to ensure a smooth transition.

Mr. Yancey’s first public appearance as CEO will be on Tuesday, September 2, at the Chamber’s community luncheon which will feature keynote speaker UC Davis Chancellor Linda Katehi. Tickets for the 09/02/2014, 11:45am luncheon at the Veterans Memorial Hall in Davis, CA, sponsored by HM.CLAUSE, are available at

—David M. Greenwald reporting


About The Author

David Greenwald is the founder, editor, and executive director of the Davis Vanguard. He founded the Vanguard in 2006. David Greenwald moved to Davis in 1996 to attend Graduate School at UC Davis in Political Science. He lives in South Davis with his wife Cecilia Escamilla Greenwald and three children.

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2 thoughts on “Chamber Hires Matt Yancey As New CEO”

  1. Rob White

    This is great news for Davis! Matt is a seasoned and consummate professional! He brings long-term experience with Chamber organizations and significant history working with Yolo and regional orgs. Matt accompanied me at a meeting in DC in May with the International Economic Development Council in reviewing the City’s Innovation and Economic Vitality Work Program and has a firm understanding of how the City’s work in economic development can be collaborative with the Chamber’s 2020 plan. Congrats to Matt! Looking forward to your partnership as we work to build local business diversity, increase tech transfer and innovation, and increase local prosperity.

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