Manhattan Area Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Lyle Butler has announced his retirement from the position, effective Feb. 28, 2019, according to a press release from the chamber.
Butler has directed the Manhattan area business organization for more than 18 years, extending to his overall 28-year chamber executive career.
“Serving as President and CEO of the Manhattan Area Chamber of Commerce has been the capstone of my 28 years in the chamber profession,” Butler said in the release. “This has been a true honor to have served as the local, regional and national promoter of the Manhattan area.
“The wonderful success of our Chamber is because of my great staff, a very supportive and progressive Board of Directors and hundreds of terrific volunteers.”
Butler’s chamber career began as president of the Dodge City Area Chamber of Commerce in 1990 for five years, continued with the Greeley/Weld Chamber of Commerce in 1995 for another five-year period and culminated with his Manhattan appointment in July 2000, which followed a nationwide search.
The chamber says that under Butler, it has greatly expanded its financial resource base through a private economic development campaign — Advantage Manhattan — and created a regional economic development organization in the Greater Manhattan Economic Partnership.
“I want to thank Lyle for his endless dedicated service to Manhattan area businesses and more broadly, the entire region,” stated Chamber Board Chair Matt Crocker of SPS Companies, Inc. “Lyle has provided great leadership to the Chamber and prepared us well for the next chapter of the Chamber’s mission.”
Butler told KMAN Wednesday that he and his wife plan to stay in Manhattan.
“There’s never a good time to retire, especially in a job that I love very much,” he said. “It felt like it was the right time to make a decision to retire. I’ve been thinking about it for awhile.”
Butler said he’s most proud of his contributions to downtown redevelopment, the relocation of the National Bio and Agro-defense Facility from Plum Island, New York, to the Little Apple, and bringing the Big Red One back to Fort Riley.
“I’ve had the real privilege over my tenure in being involved in some major projects, along with the chamber,” he said. “Those kinds of projects show when you work together with a lot of partners, that you can make a lot of great things happen in our region — not just in Manhattan.”
Later this month, the Chamber’s Board will establish a committee to conduct a nationwide search for Butler’s replacement.