Conexión San Ángelo/ Ann Flippin, contributor
Photo courtesy of San Angelo Chamber of Commerce

SAN ANGELO — The San Angelo Chamber of Commerce has announced Bruce R. Partain will take over as president and CEO of the association at the beginning of April.

Partain served as president and CEO of the Longmont Area Chamber of Commerce in northern Colorado from 2015-2017. He served in the same capacity for the Nacogdoches County Chamber of Commerce in Texas from 2001 to 2015, and he was vice president of membership and communications for the Midland Chamber of Commerce from 1989 to 2001.

“Bruce brings a lot of experience to San Angelo,” said Mike Boyd, who has been serving as the interim president of the Chamber since August. “But more than that, he brings a lot of innate knowledge about how we like to do business in West Texas. That’s vital. We want someone who understands us, and who we understand.”

Partain said his initial goals include connecting with Chamber leaders and our partners. “I want to meet small business owners, start-ups and major employers, and will reach out as soon as I can,” he said. Partain and his wife, Linda T. Bond, are starting their move from Colorado to San Angelo. Linda teaches advertising, public relations and social media for Stephen F. Austin State University. 

“San Angelo is a beautiful, unique community, and Linda and I are excited about living in the Concho Valley,” said Partain. “I’m looking forward to returning to West Texas and joining the San Angelo Chamber team.”

Partain helped the Nacogdoches Chamber earn four-star accreditation from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce in 2013 for effective organizational procedures and deep commitment to advancing the united interests of the business community. Of the 7,000 Chambers in the U.S., only 207 are accredited. San Angelo also has a four-star accreditation.

He helped Nacogdoches County gain recognition as one of the America’s Promise Foundation’s 100 Best Communities for Young People. He also worked to earn Texas Film Friendly Community accreditation — a goal for the San Angelo Chamber of Commerce.

“We need someone at the Chamber who is thoughtful, forward-thinking, but who really listens to the needs of the community,” said C.J. Muniz, chairman of the Chamber’s board of directors. “Our search committee did an excellent job choosing candidates who the members felt would fit in with San Angelo. I think Bruce and (his wife) Linda wanted to come back to Texas. They have roots here and they love it here.”

The San Angelo Chamber of Commerce hired Dan Koenig as president and CEO after a five-month nationwide search in 2016 when Phil Neighbors died earlier that year. Koenig resigned in September 2017, prompting a new national search.

The Chamber board and Partain agreed to a three-year contract to give both parties more stability. “That was something I wanted, and Bruce wanted, too,” said Muniz. “We all wanted a sense of commitment, and I think we have that. Now the Chamber can move forward with its initiatives and focus on San Angelo.”

Partain holds a journalism degree from Oklahoma State University and geology degrees from the University of Texas of the Permian Basin. He is a graduate of the U.S. Chamber Institute for Organization Management. He is also a graduate of the Economic Development Institute (EDI) at the University of Oklahoma. He spent a year in Australia as a Rotary Foundation Graduate Scholar, studying the Great Barrier Reef. 

In addition to his Chamber of Commerce experience, Partain has worked in the news media — primarily as a photographer, but also as a writer and editor. His photos and stories have been published in Hart Energy, Texas Highways, Texas Monthly and the New York Times. He has also worked as an earth scientist. 

He has volunteered for the United Way, Habitat for Humanity, Keep Nacogdoches Beautiful and Rotary International and served as an assistant scoutmaster. He served as chair of the board of the Texas Chamber of Commerce Executives in 2014 and 2015.

The Partains have two sons, Shelby Bond, an actor based in Los Angeles, and Dan Partain, a web interaction designer in Boulder County, Colorado.

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