Chamber Announces New President
Troy, N.Y. – The Board of Directors of the Rensselaer County Regional Chamber of Commerce has named Norris Pearson as the next president/CEO of the organization. Pearson, who leaves Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute following a long career as operations manager of the Houston Field House, will take on the chamber role on March 1.
“The board is excited to welcome Norris Pearson as our next chamber president/CEO,” said Brian Williams, board chair and chair of the search committee. “Norris brings decades of experience as a community connector with expertise in convening a diverse set of stakeholders to advance a common goal. We are pleased to have someone of his caliber leading our chamber into the future and know that his passion for our region and our business community, along with his high level of energy, positions our organization well for growing our membership and expanding programming.”
Pearson was at RPI for 29 years. For the past 23 years, he served in operations roles, where he managed a 6,000-seat arena and oversaw event staffing, box office operations, public safety and emergency services associated with events. His work has included negotiating contracts, collaborating with other campus departments on revenue strategies, overseeing capital improvements, conducting risk assessment, and managing a staff of six full-time and 30 part-time staff members. Pearson also worked closely with the City of Troy on code compliance and emergency protocols.
Earlier, during his time leading the Office of Conference Services at RPI, Pearson managed fiscal operations, including billing/accounting and expense forecasting; negotiated contracts for up to 35 athletic, academic, and professional groups annually for housing, dining, facility, and equipment needs; and hired and managed a staff of 20.
Pearson said, “I have witnessed the Chamber’s evolution driven by the forward thinking of its excellent past leaders and dedicated board of directors. I am excited to get started and it will be my honor to build on their work and forge new paths toward ensuring the Chamber’s strong position as a vital resource for businesses, a driver of economic development, and an advocate for Rensselaer County as great place to live, work, and play.”
He has been involved with the Rensselaer County Chamber for many years and was a member of the inaugural class of the Leadership Institute in 2006. He is actively engaged in the community and serves as a member of the YMCA of Troy Advisory Council and is a past recipient of the YMCA’s President’s Award. Pearson is a former member the RPI Community Relations Committee and is a founding member of the Frear Park Conservancy in Troy.
He is dedicated to building strong collaborations with Rensselaer County organizations because he understands the benefits of working together for the good of the community. For several years, he worked closely with Russell Sage College and President Chris Ames to plan and host the college’s annual commencement at RPI’s Houston Field House. He also assisted the Troy Valley Cats’ management team when players first came to the region and helped locate and secure housing in Rensselaer County for all the players.
Pearson is a member of the International Ticketing Association, the Association of Collegiate Conference and Events Directors – International, and the International Association of Assembly Managers.
In addition, he has completed 39 marathons, including Boston and New York City, and has raised more than $20,000 for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society and more than $9,000 for the Michael J. Fox Foundation’s Team Fox for Parkinson’s research.
Pearson and his wife, Marguerite Pearson, are longtime residents of Troy, having lived in the city for nearly 30 years.