Tara Barney, the former CEO of the Quad-Cities Chamber of Commerce, has been hired to lead the Southwest Indiana Chamber.

The chamber, located in Evansville, Indiana, announced Thursday in a news release that its board of directors had hired Barney as president and CEO. She was hired after an extensive nationwide search.

She will assume her new role March 19.

Barney resigned July 21 from her Quad-City post, announcing she was stepping down "to pass the torch to new leadership."

The Quad-Cities chamber has not yet hired her replacement. Kristin Glass, the chamber's former vice president of member services, is serving as interim CEO.

'While we had a tremendous slate of candidates, Tara's extensive experience in economic development, working collaboratively among a number of civic and business-related organizations, and her understanding of a variety of industries, makes her a perfect fit for the job," said Christine Keck, chair of the Southwest Indiana chamber's search committee.

"She will be a tremendous asset to our organization and our southwest Indiana communities," added Keck, who also is federal government affairs director for Vectren Corp.

In the release, Jim Sandgren, the Indiana chamber's board chair, said the search committee's efforts were "an exhaustive and thoughtful process."

"Tara has demonstrated that she and her team can both retain existing Chamber members and cultivate new relationships to consistently deliver value to the community," he added.

During her tenure in the Quad-Cities, Barney was responsible for a chamber with a $6 million budget. The organization worked with more than 30,000 local businesses, including several Fortune 500 companies, that encompassed a regional labor force of nearly 600,000 people.

Sandgren described one of Barney's most notable accomplishments as the launch of a regional Quad-Cities, bi-state business organization after a merger of the region's chambers and development organization.

A native of Columbus, Ohio, she led the combined Quad-Cities chamber since the 2010 merger of Illinois and Iowa Quad-Cities chambers. She had been in leadership positions since 2002 with some of the chamber's predecessors, including DavenportOne.

"I am excited to move to Evansville and begin this next phase of my career in serving such a well-established chamber and a vibrant community that is southwest Indiana," Barney said in the release. "The Southwest Indiana Chamber is clearly an extremely well-run organization, having recently won Chamber of the Year nationally in 2016, and I'm proud to join the talented and capable staff."

Also under her leadership, the Quad-Cities Manufacturing Innovation Hub was formed as a resource center for area manufacturers. She also was instrumental in spearheading Q2030, the region's long-term vision and action plan, which focuses on attracting and retaining businesses and talent as well as ensuring prosperity and connectivity.

According to its website, Southwest Indiana Chamber reached a record membership of 1,700 businesses in 2014 making it then Indiana's second largest chamber.

"I look forward to getting to know all of our members to best serve their business needs and continue to build upon the prosperity and vision of this local economy," she said of her new role.

Barney has a master's degree in public administration from Ohio State University and a bachelor's degree in public administration from Miami University in Ohio. Her volunteer service in the Quad-Cities included board membership for the YMCA, United Way, Figge Art Museum and other arts and culture-related nonprofit agencies.

She has two adult children, who reside in Colorado and Florida.

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