Mike Reagen to bid adieu to Naples Chamber

Naples Area Chamber of Commerce President Mike Reagen is acutely aware of the job market in Southwest Florida   Photo by Donn Brown

Photo by DONN BROWN // Buy this photo

Naples Area Chamber of Commerce President Mike Reagen is acutely aware of the job market in Southwest Florida Photo by Donn Brown

Greater Naples Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Michael Reagen pass the fish to Naples Mayor Bill Barnett as part of the ribbon. The Greater Naples Chamber of Commerce held a ribbon cutting event on behalf of McCormick & Schmick's, located at 9114 Strada Place at the Mercato in Naples. The event was held on Tuesday, December 2 at the new restaurant location. Instead of a traditional ribbon cutting, McCormick and Schmick's celebrated by forming a 'ribbon' of local dignitaries who passed a fish from one to another until it reached the front door. Submitted by Marci-Nicole Seamples

Greater Naples Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Michael Reagen pass the fish to Naples Mayor Bill Barnett as part of the ribbon. The Greater Naples Chamber of Commerce held a ribbon cutting event on behalf of McCormick & Schmick's, located at 9114 Strada Place at the Mercato in Naples. The event was held on Tuesday, December 2 at the new restaurant location. Instead of a traditional ribbon cutting, McCormick and Schmick's celebrated by forming a "ribbon" of local dignitaries who passed a fish from one to another until it reached the front door. Submitted by Marci-Nicole Seamples

Michael Reagen

Michael Reagen

Naples Area Chamber of Commerce President Mike Reagen is acutely aware of the job market in Southwest Florida   Photo by Donn Brown

Photo by DONN BROWN // Buy this photo

Naples Area Chamber of Commerce President Mike Reagen is acutely aware of the job market in Southwest Florida Photo by Donn Brown

Get ready to say farewell to Mike Reagen.

Reagen, the president and CEO of the Greater Naples Chamber of Commerce, announced Wednesday he plans to retire from the organization within the year. His retirement will mark the end of decade-long tenure with the chamber.

"I'm feeling good," Reagen said. "My health is excellent, the chamber is in good shape and I have a lot of stuff to do in the remaining part of 2013."

The 70-year-old Naples resident told chamber staff he planned to retire during a staff meeting, before holding a conference call with community leaders to announce his decision. Reagen said he plans to meet with the full chamber board Thursday to discuss his decision.

In prepared remarks, Reagen said when he was offered the position in 2002, his plan was to "work for 10 years, make a contribution that was well received, retire and be engaged with the community" so he and his wife, Susan, could enjoy Naples.

"With you outstanding help and support from our business and civic leaders, the first part of my plan has been achieved," he said in his remarks. "And now it is time for me to begin to leave the party."

Michael Wynn, chairman of the chamber's board of directors and owner of Sunshine Ace Hardware, said Reagen's decision didn't come entirely as a surprise.

"This is recent news," he said. "But I think that you're not entirely surprised because you know at some point it's only fair to him and his family that he picks an appropriate time for him to slow down."

Wynn said he and chairman-elect Dudley Goodlette will begin the search process, including forming a search committee and a candidate profile, in the coming months.

Goodlette, who was recently named the board's chairman-elect, said Reagen has done a good job at transforming the chamber over the years, making a search for a successor a difficult one.

"I think he's provided tremendous vision and leadership while he's been here," Goodlette said. "I think we're a stronger organization. I don't mean we weren't stable when he arrived, we're just more stable now. That all bodes very well for the future of the chamber."

Civic leaders echoed comments made by chamber leadership Wednesday, saying Reagen will be missed.

"He leaves a legacy of remarkable achievement during some very challenging times," said Collier County Manager Leo Ochs. "I wish him the very best in his retirement and look forward to his continued involvement in our community for many years to come."

While Reagen won't be at the helm of the chamber much longer, he won't be leaving the area any time soon.

"This is our home and we intend to continue to stay here for the next 30 years at least," he said.

_Staff writer Katherine Albers contributed to this report.

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