Bill Connors, President & CEO of the Boise Metro Chamber of Commerce, Idaho’s largest business association and only five-star accredited Chamber in Idaho, has announced his intention to retire after a 15-year career with the Chamber. Connors will retire as the longest serving CEO in the organization‘s 146-year history. He began his tenure with the Chamber in 2009 and will end his very successful leadership career with the Chamber on December 31, 2023. During his fourteen-year tenure, he has positioned the Chamber to be a very influential advocacy organization for business and which boasts a 30-person Board of Directors and is largely made up of CEOs of some of the biggest employers in Idaho.
Over the last few years, under Connors’ leadership, the Chamber successfully weathered inflation and its effects along with COVID pandemic. In addition, he has effectively managed the financial operations of the Chamber over the last 14 years. Under Connors’ watch, the Chamber began its very successful Annual Gala, introduced Industry Sector Boards, started New Member and New Valley CEO receptions, merged the Boise Convention & Visitors Bureau into the organization, rebuilt the Boise Valley Economic Partnership structure, expanded the Boise Young Professionals network into one of the largest in the USA, started a Hall of Fame Program, founded a 501(c)3 Foundation, designed, built and paid for its new headquarters building in Downtown Boise, and recently added a Boise Gift Shop and Visitor Information Center.
In addition to the Boise Chamber becoming an influential voice in advocacy and community, the Chamber’s successful legislative agenda included lowering Idaho’s business and personal income tax rates from 8.2% to 5.9% over the years, while supporting record investments in education. The Chamber’s advocacy also helped pass legislative incentives to attract aerospace companies, data centers, microchip production and advanced manufacturing, bringing thousands of highly paid jobs and scores of businesses to Idaho, making the Boise Valley the envy of the nation.
Connors has long been a champion for expanded transportation, air service to and from Boise, and currently is working on bringing Amtrak service back to the Treasure Valley. He has also been a champion of small business, travel and tourism industries, sports teams, and arts organizations.
Connors has been working with the executive board for the past three years on a succession plan and retirement strategy. He attributes his successful run as the President & CEO of the Chamber to his partnership with the Boards, his incredible staff, members, volunteers, pro-business elected officials, Chamber CEOs across the state and nation, his colleagues at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and the U.S. Travel Association, to name a few.
Under the chairmanship of Odette Bolano, CEO of Saint Alphonsus Health System, a search committee has been established of which Connors will be an active contributor to the process of identifying a successor. The Committee has selected SearchWide Global to assist with a national search. Bolano shared, “While it is bittersweet to announce Bill’s retirement, we are forever grateful for all that Bill has accomplished over this tenure. He leaves legacy which will not be forgotten and a very successful and effective business advocacy organization for his successor.”