Chamber picks Rob Kreibich as new executive director
The executive director’s desk at the New Richmond Area Chamber of Commerce has sat vacant since March. Last week, the Chamber board announced it had filled the position with an applicant who has worked in broadcast media, served in the Wisconsin State Legislature and has a tie to the community that goes back 25 years.
Back in 1990, before Rob Kreibich was a state assemblyman, he accompanied the New Richmond High School Marching Band on its historic trip to the Soviet Union as a reporter for WEAU, the NBC affiliate out of Eau Claire.
“It was a trip of a lifetime. I made a lot of good friends,” Kreibich said. “It was just a great experience. It was something to see the first-ever American marching band perform in the Soviet Union.”
Even before the band trip, Kreibich was no stranger to western Wisconsin. He grew up in River Falls and studied journalism at UW-River Falls before transferring to the University of Minnesota. After spending most of his adult life in the Eau Claire area, Kreibich said he is looking forward to returning this area.
“I know about the many advantages New Richmond has — its proximity to the Twin Cities, the Stillwater bridge, which they were talking about when I was in diapers, great schools, a technical college and an airport. It has a lot going for it,” Kreibich said. “I think New Richmond, and St. Croix County in general, is poised to take off like a rocketship, and I’m bringing some fuel and a match to help it reach a very high altitude.”
Kreibich’s resume shows he has worked as a regional marketing and communications specialist for Marshfield Clinic for the past seven years since being defeated in the 2006 election and leaving office in early 2007.
Kreibich gathered quite a bit of experience in public policy, economics and education during his seven terms as the District 93 representative on the Wisconsin State Assembly.
“I authored legislation that brought Hutchinson Technology to Eau Claire,” Kreibich said. “I think it remains the largest economic development draw in the state of Wisconsin. In the final piece of that were some tax credits that needed to pass through the legislature. I was in my first term and shepherded that through the Assembly. That was a major employer in Eau Claire, which at the time had lost Uniroyal.”
Kreibich already has compiled a to-do list for when he starts work at the Chamber office on Oct. 6.
“I hope to retain members, to grow membership, to enhance the existing events — and I’ve heard great things about the events that go on — and over time to add some new features with the goal of bringing as much value to Chamber members as possible,” Kreibich said. “I look forward to working for the board and alongside local governments and economic development groups to promote New Richmond as a great place to do business and also raise a family.”
According to Chamber President Chad Derrick, the hiring agency Dowell Management assisted the board with the process of filling the vacancy.
“They went through the process of looking for and recruiting directors in the local area, the surrounding communities and actually nationally too,” Derrick said.
The Chamber board first attempted to fill the vacancy itself and announced that it would hire local business owner Jonathan Timm as its executive director in May, but back-pedaled on the hire before Timm got a chance to start.
After working with the hiring agency, Derrick is excited to move forward with Kreibich at the helm.
“The Chamber is very excited to hire such a dynamic person and leader,” Derrick said. “Rob has a solid background in many high-profile jobs. His skill set and personality work well in promoting our community.”
Kreibich is divorced with three children who are all currently attending college at nearby University of Wisconsin system schools. He said he plans to commute from the Eau Claire area through October before moving to the New Richmond area in November.
In his spare time, Kreibich enjoys running, lifting weights, golfing, playing tennis and watching sports. He said he also still considers himself a news junkie and a political junkie.
Members of the New Richmond Area Chamber of Commerce will get a chance to meet with him at a chamber event at R&D Catering Banquet Center on Thursday evening.