Chamber Transition Expedited; Phil Sparks Appointed Interim President

The Charlottesville Regional Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors today announced that it has expedited the transition to interim leadership. Effective immediately, Philip L. “Phil” Sparks has assumed the interim president role with Patricia “Pat” Fleshman Burnette in the vice president role. 

“In October, 2017 we announced that Chamber President Tim Hulbert would be stepping down with more than a year for transition and executive search,” said Joe Raichel, 2017 chair of the Chamber Board of Directors and transition co-chair. “Since that time, the board examined the best circumstances for a transition scenario and determined that an interim solution was the best way to serve Chamber membership. We’re so fortunate to have the dream team of Pat and Phil available to work with us as we continue our executive search, promoting business, and representing private enterprise in the greater Charlottesville area.” 

Martin V. Burks III, of J.F. Bell Funeral Home and the 2018 chairman of the Board of Directors, said, “I thank Tim for his service and I look forward to working with Pat and Phil.”

Mr. Hulbert said, “I am excited about pursuing further entrepreneurial ventures here in Charlottesville.” Earlier this month, Chamber Vice President Frank Squillace left the Chamber to take a position with Charlottesville Works Initiative, a Chamber/Piedmont Virginia Community College partnership. 

Both Phil Sparks and Pat Fleshman Burnette are well known in the Charlottesville business and Chamber community. A former power company executive, Mr. Sparks is the president of the Piedmont Virginia Community College Educational Board of ​Directors as well as the vice president of the Perry Foundation’s Board of Trustees. Ms. Burnette has recently been the marketing and communications manager for The Boar’s Head Resort. Mr. Sparks and Ms. Burnette met as part of the 1989 class of Leadership Charlottesville and have worked together on community initiatives for many years. 

“Pat and I are pleased to be able to support the Chamber during this time. The Chamber is an important part of our community, and we look forward to working with members to help further their success,” said Mr. Sparks. 

A nation-wide search has already begun for a new Chamber president and CEO, with Pete Caramanis and Susan Cabell-Mains serving as co-chairs of the presidential search committee. The committee is reaching out to all Chamber stakeholders to seek their feedback on the qualifications of future Chamber leadership. The search is drawing on standards developed by the Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives; the Institute of Organizational Management; the Virginia Chamber and the United States Chamber of Commerce and other sources. 

The Charlottesville Regional Chamber of Commerce, founded in 1913, is dedicated to representing private enterprise, promoting business and enhancing the quality of life in the Greater Charlottesville communities. The Chamber’s more than 1,200 member and affiliate member enterprises employ more than 45,000 people in the community, representing an estimated total payroll of more than $1.9 billion a year.