June 15, 2014
After a nationwide search, members of the Boards of Directors of both the Altus Chamber of Commerce and the Altus Southwest Area Economic Development Corporation determined that the most qualified, most promising candidate was one who is actually a product of the Altus community itself. The search committee selected Brian Bush to serve as the new Chamber of Commerce CEO, where he will serve simultaneously as head of the economic development efforts. In addition to managing the operations of the Chamber of Commerce, Bush will work closely with community, educational and business leaders to further the economic growth of Altus and create an environment where businesses can succeed.
“The Altus Chamber is poised to lead our economy forward through several initiatives led by a collaboration of committed leaders. Today, our community welcomes home a leader that will propel our initiatives forward and take our community to the next level,” said Tom Buchanan, chairman of the Chamber Board of Directors and co-chair of the search committee. “Brian has worked extensively in both nonprofit leadership and in public policy in Oklahoma for the past eight years, serving as Executive Vice President of the Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs and as Executive Director of the Academy of Leadership & Liberty and Director of Government Relations at Oklahoma Christian University.” Buchanan said, “Brian has extensive knowledge of the policies and processes within the State of Oklahoma, and brings with him fresh, new ideas for our community.”
Reaction from around the state and in the State Capitol came quickly to the news that Bush had been selected to lead the Chamber’s efforts. Oklahoma Lt. Governor Todd Lamb, our state’s small business advocate, said, “I have worked closely with Brian for over a decade, and I have long appreciated his love for our great state and his desire to keep us moving forward. Applying those values and his skill set in a role like this for the community of Altus is a recipe for success, and I look forward to doing everything in my power to help achieve that success for Southwest Oklahoma, an area that is vital to the economic success of our state as a whole.”
The Chamber Board of Directors established a search committee led by chair Tom Buchanan following the announcement that Chamber CEO Holley Urbanski would retire this summer. After reviewing information on prospective candidates compiled by The PACE Group, a national search firm, the selection committee chose Bush after interviewing several candidates. They made their recommendations to the Board of Directors on May 23. “The board unanimously approved the selection of Brian and we are confident that the Chamber is bringing in the best possible leader for our economic development organization by conducting a thorough national search,” said City Councilman Dr. Rick Henry, President of the Enonomic Development Corporation Board and co-chair of the search committee. “We look forward to the future of Altus under his leadership.”
Oklahoma Secretary of Commerce Larry Parman said, “Brian has been an important part of the public policy discussion at the state level for a long time, and I am excited to have someone of his character working on behalf of his hometown in this capacity. Brian is a dynamic leader with lifelong roots in Altus and a passionate commitment to helping the community grow. We at the Department of Commerce proudly wish him the best, and we stand ready to help with any resources we can provide for Altus and its economic development efforts.”
“I am honored and excited to be selected to lead the Altus Chamber and the community’s economic development efforts. No matter where my education or my career has taken me over the last several years, I have always called Altus home, and it is an honor to come home to help the community that has given me so much,“ Bush said. “Altus has all of the components needed to grow its economy, including great schools, strong support for our air force base, a resilient agriculture sector, and committed business leaders who give us all a better quality of life through their hard work. I look forward to working with the community to put together a program to grow our local businesses and create new ones. Altus is a fantastic community with a great deal of potential, and a place where the pioneer spirit is alive and well. My wife and I are thrilled that we will have the opportunity to raise our children here.”
Bush was born and raised in Altus and earned his bachelors degree from Harding University and a law degree from the University of Oklahoma. His career includes public service as an Assistant District Attorney in Oklahoma County under Wes Lane, small business experience as an attorney in Norman, and private higher education experience as Assistant Dean of Students at Harding University in Searcy, AR. Brian has a 12-year-old son and a 4-year-old daughter. He and his wife, Becca will be moving to Altus as soon as possible. He is expected to start in his position the first of July.