A board of directors panel for the Greater Naples Chamber of Commerce will search for a temporary and permanent replacement for Chamber CEO and President Michael Dalby, who leaves his post this week for a new position in Texas.
“We have formed from the board of directors, the CEO search committee. It’s going to be comprised of seven board members that will help us launch into the job that we have to do to find Michael’s replacement and our new CEO,” said Julie Schmelzle, chair of the chamber board and senior vice president of Bank of America Naples.
After leading the Naples business organization for more than seven years, Dalby is leaving for a new position as assistant vice president of innovation, commercialization and economic development at the University of Texas at El Paso. He is proud of his work at the largest chamber of commerce in the five-county region of Southwest Florida and wishes the local organization well.
“This has been a great organization, a great seven years. It was a great run,” Dalby said. “You know, Naples is really hard to leave, but this is an opportunity to be with family and to take on a new opportunity there, a new challenge. But everybody here has been great. I got to work with a great staff. I got to work with a great board of directors and tremendous members of the organization, so I know that it’s onward for them. They’ll keep going great.”
Schmelzle honored Dalby last week during the chamber’s annual meeting and awards recognition at the Arthrex headquarters in North Naples.
Schmelzle, who was on the 2015 search committee for CEO, said Dalby was the only applicant in her “A pile” then. She hailed Dalby’s many accomplishments in the past seven years. “I’m going to call them dog years because the impact that you’ve made is like you’ve been here for 49 years. Really,” she told Dalby on stage at Wednesday night’s event.
Schmelzle detailed some of Dalby’s accomplishments leading the Naples organization through a stretch that included the COVID-19 pandemic and hurricanes Irma and Ian. “Welcome to Florida,” she joked. “We were able to maintain financial integrity. You’re leaving us in better shape than you found us.”
Schmelzle said Dalby’s tenacity was important for the long game because nothing rarely happens overnight.
“We are thankful for the guidance and insight Michael has brought to the chamber, into our Collier community over the last seven years. He has been instrumental in our growth and strategically, truly strategically, aligning us as the voice of business. That is our moniker,” she said.
The chamber currently is finalizing its five-year strategic plan that Dalby was instrumental in creating. The plan will serve as a guide for his successor. “So, this is a new and opportunistic time to find a new candidate that will be well prepared to carry on the legacy that Michael has created,” Schmelzle said.
The board hasn’t decided yet whether there will be an interim president, Schmelzle said.
“We’re still evaluating that. I feel that there is a need for an interim to come in and we want to take our time to find the right person. So having an interim step in for the next three to six months, I think it’s appropriate,” said Schmelzle, who will chair the board until next May. “The chair-elect is Blake Gable, so obviously he will be very involved in the search process.”