A longtime executive has left the Springfield Area Chamber of Commerce, which led to two high-profile interim appointments as a search process was launched.
Ryan Mooney exited the chamber in late November after 22 years, according to a news release. He most recently served as vice president of economic development for more than 11 years, his LinkedIn profile indicates.
It's unclear what's next for Mooney, who could not be reached for comment by deadline. Chamber spokesperson Jennifer McClure deferred questions on Mooney's future to him.
“We’re incredibly grateful to Ryan for more than two decades of service and support to the chamber and to the region’s economic development community,” said Matt Morrow, the chamber's president, in the release. “We’re also grateful for his work in helping to prepare our 2022 action plan prior to his departure.”
The chamber hired St. Louis-based executive search firm Next Move Group LLC to lead a national search for its next vice president of economic development. At the chamber, Mooney led economic development projects for the organization and the Springfield Business Development Corp., its economic development subsidiary. In June, Mooney said the SBDC was a contributor to securing nine projects in 2020. In total, the projects represent $288.9 million in new investment, producing 1,014 jobs and $40.5 million in payroll, he said at the time.
“Proven leadership in acting as the primary point of contact for business and attraction projects will be key,” Morrow said in the release. “Being able to actively engage in supporting public- and private-sector partners to win projects is vital to this role.”
Additionally, the chamber made two interim appointments: Mary Lilly Smith as interim vice president of economic development and Jeff Seifried as interim senior project manager.
Smith retired early this year from the city of Springfield after nearly 39 years, the past six of which were spent as its planning and development director. Before that, she was economic development director for the city for 16 years, according to the release.
“Mary has had a hand in more than 100 key economic development projects and business attraction, retention and expansion initiatives, as well as two of Springfield’s long-range plans,” Morrow said in the release. “We have absolute confidence in her ability to ensure we move forward at full speed on investor- and partner-driven strategic priorities that will best position Springfield to grow jobs, our workforce and investment in the region.”
Seifried was retained to help the chamber secure economic development projects. A former Springfield chamber staffer – with nearly eight years as manager of regional development – Seifried recently led the Branson/Lakes Area Chamber of Commerce & CVB for five years and held the CEO role at Connell Insurance Inc. for a year. Seifried’s LinkedIn profile indicates he exited Connell Insurance in October and is now serving as a consultant.
Smith and Seifried started their interim positions at the Springfield chamber on Dec. 9, according to the release.
“We’re incredibly excited and fortunate to have leaders of this caliber working with us during this search process to maintain our momentum and successfully compete to win jobs and talent that translate into even more opportunities for economic growth," Morrow said in the release.
Meanwhile, the city of Springfield is seeking a director of economic vitality, a new position and department approved by council in July.
Darla Morrison, the city's human resources director, would not comment on whether Mooney was a candidate for the role, citing a Sunshine Law provision.
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