The Carlsbad Chamber of Commerce is celebrating the 10-year work anniversary of Ted Owen, its president and CEO, whose leadership has successfully guided the organization through a tough economic climate and positioned the chamber as a champion of innovation, entrepreneurship and business.
Owen first came to the Chamber in 2004, after retiring as president and publisher of the San Diego Business Journal (a position he held twice). Previous to that he was an executive for the San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce. Owen also had a successful 22-year career in the military, where he attained the rank of captain and served as public information officer for the Marines at Camp Pendleton and the Marine Corps Recruit Depot, San Diego.
During this tenure at the Chamber, Owen has excelled at developing relationships with members, the board of directors, elected officials, the military and other community-based organizations that have a stake in Carlsbad’s success.
“When we hired Ted, our theme was ‘Unity in Community,’” said Jeff Segall who served as the board chairman for the Chamber at the time. “We wanted to bring our community partners together and focus on establishing relationships with them. One of the major factors we liked about Ted was that he is a consensus manager who brings people together.”
Lou Storrow, who also sat on the board when the 5-month executive search led the Chamber to Owen, said that when he heard Owen was interested in the position, he was surprised that such an accomplished business leader “would want to run our ‘little’ North County chamber.”
Storrow cites Owen’s careful guidance as a transformative force that led to the Chamber’s growth beyond that description into the respected voice of business it is today, with influence far beyond its borders.
“Ted’s ability to navigate the political landscape has been invaluable,” added Storrow. “Many chambers get caught up in local politics to the point where a single election or a single hot issue can seriously damage its reputation and effectiveness, alienate members and in some cases threaten its existence. The Carlsbad Chamber has avoided that problem by working to find the middle ground while actively promoting our members’ interests.”
Owen said that his goal when coming to the Chamber was to have the organization address the needs of its membership — something that became even more important during the period of economic hardship that followed years later.
“It’s during hard times that people turn to the Chamber,” Owen said. “Our role was to provide our businesses the resources they needed to succeed, to cheer them on as they dusted themselves off and got back on their feet.”
Under Owen’s guidance, the Carlsbad Chamber of Commerce expanded its monthly publication, the Carlsbad Business Journal, which repeatedly sets the standard for Chamber publications and which highlights the successes of the Chamber and its members.
The Chamber also continues its tradition of providing unparalleled workshops, networking events and other services that cater to the needs of the membership base. This year, has added a Small Business Awards Luncheon, which will be held May 2 and features a keynote address from U.S. Rep. Darrell Issa.
“When I joined the Chamber, it was already an impressive organization,” Segall said. “When Ted came in, he brought it to another level. He’s added a lot of power, influence and prestige to the Carlsbad Chamber of Commerce.”
For his part, Owen said that spending a decade in the Chamber business has taught him a lot about the nature of business, lessons which added to what he learned in the military and in the business world.
“When I came to the Chamber, I had spent 33 years in the business world, including 22 years in the military,” Owen said. “I learned a lot about business then, but the last 10 years have taught me many new things.”