The Board of Directors of the Albany Area Chamber of Commerce announced today that Barbara Rivera Holmes will serve as the chamber’s president and CEO, effective August 1.
“We’re thrilled to have Barbara on board,” said Ed Newsome, chair of the board of directors of the chamber, a 106-year-old business organization. “Barbara’s passion, expertise, professionalism, her collaborative spirit and her commitment to the community are precisely what make her the right person to lead this organization and the business community. She has the unanimous support of this board.”
Holmes has served as the organization’s interim chief executive officer since April 2015 while maintaining her responsibilities as vice president of the Albany-Dougherty Economic Development Commission, which she joined in 2008.
“I’m honored that the board has put its confidence in me to lead region’s largest business advocacy organization,” said Holmes. “I look forward to expanding the successes we’ve achieved at the chamber during the last 15 months on behalf of the community, and remain committed to fostering an environment that’s conducive to economic growth.”
Holmes’ role running the chamber while also serving the Albany-Dougherty EDC has provided for a strong partnership between the two agencies and to a collaborative approach to providing services and resources to the community’s employers.
While at the ADEDC, Holmes, in partnership with the agency president, oversaw the development of the agency’s brand, its marketing efforts – which include the award-winning “We Are Albany” and “Made in Albany” videos, and the “There’s Only One Albany” campaign – and managed its business retention and expansion program, which has facilitated existing industry job creation and capital investment in Albany-Dougherty County. Holmes also organized the Albany-Dougherty Industry Roundtable, a CEO-level forum of the area’s largest employers which, in partnership with Albany Technical College, most recently announced a new technical certificate of credit that meets the needs of industry and strengthens the work force.
Prior to her work at the ADEDC, Holmes was senior business writer with The Albany Herald, where she earned four Georgia Associated Press awards for excellence in journalism.
Holmes is a native of San Juan, Puerto Rico, and is fluent in Spanish. She graduated as a double major from Florida Southern College in Lakeland, Fla., where she studied journalism and Spanish.
She lives in Albany with her husband, David, and their daughter, Alejandra.