The New Year brings with it a new executive director for the Geneseo Chamber of Commerce.

The New Year brings with it a new executive director for the Geneseo Chamber of Commerce.

Jim Kelly has been named executive director of the chamber, beginning Monday, Jan. 7.

He and his wife, Darlene, have lived in Geneseo for more than 20 years.

Kelly most recently worked in regional sales with what was formerly known as the Yellow Book in the Quad City area until retiring from that position in July of 2018. Prior to that, he was a Navy recruiting supervisor from 1998 until 2004, when he worked out of the Quad City area. Kelly is a retired Navy Chief, having nearly 25 years of service.

I dressed in my Navy uniform much of the time so most business owners in Geneseo know me as ‘the Navy guy,’” Kelly said, adding, “So in my new position with the chamber, most business owners will be seeing a familiar face.”

“I love Geneseo and we call it home,” he said. “After living in a Victorian home in Geneseo, we recently built a new home just outside of town on Wolf Road. We knew we wanted a more modern home and we knew we did not want to leave Geneseo.”

The new executive director said he is “excited to be an ambassador for Geneseo and begin meeting the business community and becoming more involved in the special events the chamber oversees.”

“The chamber has lots of information about small businesses, and I love small and medium-size businesses and I want to see them grow and continue to have local patronage.”

Kelly is a former president of the Geneseo Community Chest and has volunteered as a member of the finance committee at First United Methodist Church in Geneseo where he currently serves as a trustee.

He and his wife have two daughters, Angela Kelly-Jordan, who is on active duty with the U.S. Navy, serving in San Diego, Calif.; and Alicia Kelly-Richards, of Tucson, Ariz.; and one son, Michael Kelly, of Geneseo. They also have one granddaughter.

Kelly was born and raised in Tekonsha, Mich.; then enlisted in the Navy and studied business administration at Fort Hays University in Fort Hays, Kan.

He succeeds Dawn Tubbs, who has served as interim director of the Geneseo Chamber of Commerce for the last six weeks.

Tubbs stepped into the position as interim director to fill the vacancy created with the resignation of Rhonda Ludwig, who resigned to accept a position as marketing manager with Ewing Development in Iowa.

Tubbs was executive director of the Chamber for more than 10 years before leaving the post in 2007 to become administrator for the Village of Carbon Cliff, where she served until her retirement in 2012.