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September 21, 2006

Ken Adams, known for energy and broad vision, to lead Council
Head of Brooklyn Chamber elected president/CEO at Annual Meeting


Dan Walsh, Ken Adams

Dan Walsh, left, retiring president and CEO of The Business Council, with Ken Adams, president of the Brooklyn Chamber. Adams was elected new president and CEO of The Business Council Sept. 20 at the Council's Annual Meeting.

Saying “I can’t wait to get started,” Ken Adams, the president of the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce, accepted his new role as president and CEO of The Business Council and asked members to help make the Council strong.

“We have to make this into a stronger, more influential organization,” Adams told Council members at the Annual Meeting Sept. 20 in Bolton Landing. “We must grow our membership and build a louder collective voice—and there are many ways we can do that.”

Adams, 46, was elected to his new role earlier that day by the Council’s Board of Directors, effective Nov. 1. The president of the Brooklyn Chamber since 1995, Adams will succeed Daniel B. Walsh, who has been the Council’s president and CEO since January of 1988. Walsh, 71, is retiring.

Adams, whose great-grandfather was a farmer near Syracuse, has built a reputation for his energetic efforts in business development and advocacy, not just in Brooklyn but across the state.

In 2004 and 2004, when he served as chairman of the Chamber Alliance of New York State (CANYS), he insisted on touring the state to visit local and regional chambers of commerce. He took the tour to hear first-hand about the competitive trials New York’s employers face and how business could fight for changes in Albany to ease those challenges.

Adams said that Council must develop “a short, focused list of practical objectives for 2007—a disciplined agenda that provides relief to the greatest number of our members while promoting economic development and increased competitiveness of the state.”

As part of this effort, he said, the Council will also work “to create effective relationships with our representatives in Albany,” including both legislative leaders and the new Governor.

Adams praised Dan Walsh for creating “a very strong foundation and an important legacy.”

Adams has seen the size and influence of the Brooklyn Chamber increase substantially under his leadership.

Since 1995, the Chamber has more than doubled its membership, has significantly increased the effect of its marketing, advocacy and small business services, has launched 10 new economic-development initiatives for Brooklyn, and has improved the Brooklyn Chamber’s relationships with officials at all levels of government.

He served as CANYS chairman from April of 1993 through December of 2004. CANYS is an association of local and regional chambers that is affiliated with, and administered by, The Business Council.

Before joining the Brooklyn Chamber, Adams was director of the MetroTech Business Improvement District (MetroTech BID) in downtown Brooklyn. The MetroTech BID provides public safety, street cleaning, and business-development services throughout a 25-block area surrounding MetroTech Center. Under his leadership, the MetroTech BID augmented its services, improved community relations, and received citywide recognition for its management and programs.

Adams was also founding executive director of New York Cares, which he ran from 1988 to 1994. He managed the organization’s growth from 500 to 6,000 volunteers serving in citywide social service and community revitalization projects. He raised more than $6 million in private funding and in-kind donations to support the expansion of New York Cares’ services. He also created new programs, such as the New York Cares Coat Drive and New York Cares Day. His promotion of New York Cares helped launch similar volunteer organizations in more than 20 American cities.

Adams serves on the boards of the Brooklyn Arts Council, Brooklyn Bridge Park Local Development Corporation, Brooklyn Bridge Park Citizen Advisory Council, Brooklyn Central YMCA, Brooklyn Navy Yard Development Corporation, Brooklyn Sports Foundation, BRIC/Brooklyn Information and Culture, Downtown Brooklyn Council, NYC Workforce Investment Board, NYC 2012 and Wildcat Services Corporation. He also serves on advisory committees of The Center for an Urban Future, and New York City Technical College.

He grew up in Cobble Hill, Brooklyn, and graduated Phi Beta Kappa and magna cum laude from Middlebury College, where he earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees.