The Allentown Chamber of Commerce named Lehigh Valley Grand Prix Partner Michael McCreary as president of its board.
McCreary, 29, is the youngest president of any chamber's board in Lehigh Valley history, according to chamber executives. His responsibilities begin July 1.
The nominations committee selected McCreary and the board approved the nomination.
"The main goal this year is to strengthen the partnerships we have in the city, including the City of Allentown, Hamilton District Main Street Program, West End Alliance and the Seventh Street program," McCreary said.
McCreary said he wants to create a single platform for communicating what's going on in the city to make it easier to promote business – and not just on the corporate end.
"We have to create that after 5 o'clock crowd to drive retail and restaurant traffic to get the full package," McCreary said.
Downtown restaurants such as the Cosmopolitan and Sangria can benefit from people staying there longer and create an environment where people stay after work, he said.
"From a chamber perspective, my role is to get everyone to work together," McCreary said.
He would like to bring in people from City Center Lehigh Valley, the Lehigh Valley Phantoms and others into the conversation to leverage what they are looking for in Downtown Allentown, he added.
The Phantoms hockey team, a minor league affiliate of the Philadelphia Flyers, is scheduled to begin play in 2014 in an arena being built in the downtown. Center City is a development company building several large mixed-use projects in the city.
"It's just an honor to be a part of the organization," McCreary said.
McCreary said he will oversee a board with 22 members and be the voice of the organization in major public policy decisions. He graduated from Lehigh University in Bethlehem as a marketing major with a minor in entrepreneurship.
"I've known Mike for quite some time; he's young, smart, energetic, that's such a great combination in my opinion," said Miriam Huertas, vice president of Allentown Initiatives for the Greater Lehigh Valley Chamber of Commerce. "With his marketing expertise, I know we will be successful."
McCreary served as first vice president and second vice president for the Allentown Chamber and will play a greater role in leadership discussions and strategic planning, Huertas said. He has served on the chamber board for five years, she said. Huertas confirmed that he is the youngest president of any chamber's board in the Valley.
"I think he's going to be a great asset," said Tony Iannelli, president/CEO of the Greater Lehigh Valley Chamber of Commerce. "He's a young professional, we could always use that. I think we need small-business leaders."
Iannelli also described McCreary as an entrepreneur with a successful, solid business.
McCreary started Lehigh Valley Grand Prix, an indoor go-kart racing venue in Allentown, six years ago.
He will replace outgoing president Bob Buck of Buckno, Lisicky & Co.
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