Humphries Announces Retirement, Dignan To Take Helm

Mar 16, 2017
Longtime Regional Chamber President & CEO Thomas M. Humphries announced that he will retire from the organization at year’s end, while James Dignan, former commander of the 910th Airlift Wing, will become his successor on Jan. 1, 2018.

Longtime Regional Chamber President & CEO Thomas M. Humphries announced that he will retire from the organization at year’s end, while James Dignan, former commander of the 910th Airlift Wing, will become his successor on Jan. 1, 2018.

Humphries, who joined the Chamber as its leader in 1997, said, “It has been an honor to represent this organization at the state and federal levels and work with so many leaders in our community who have continually supported our mission and efforts to help move the Valley forward.”

While Humphries had been thinking about retirement for the past few years, he felt the timing would be right at the close of this year, with long-term strategy and a strong senior team in place for the future. “It’s a good time for the organization, and I’m really excited that James has accepted the opportunity to work with this team. He’s going to enjoy what has been, for me, and will undoubtedly be for him, a very rewarding experience,” he said.

Dignan will start working at the Regional Chamber in June as Chief Operating Officer. When Humphries retires on Dec. 31, James will officially become president and CEO. Humphries will be on retainer with the Chamber throughout 2018, assisting with fundraising, management of the CICs and government relations at the state and federal levels.

"Today, I gratefully and humbly accept the Board’s decision to appoint me Chief Operating Officer,” said Dignan, who has been working at the Pentagon since leaving his post at the Youngstown Air Reserve Station. “I am impressed with the collective achievements and the significant progress the Regional Chamber has made toward improving the area’s revitalization and growth, and I am thrilled to be given this wonderful opportunity to join the team and make a positive contribution.”

As commander of the 910th Airlift Wing at the Youngstown Air Reserve Station from March 2013 to October 2016, Dignan oversaw 16 units with more than 1,300 personnel; led operations and maintenance, providing support for nearly 2,000 assigned Air Force, Navy and Marine Reservists; and was the civilian leader for more than 400 Air Reserve Technician and civil service employees.

He served on the Regional Chamber’s Board of Directors in 2015 and 2016 and was instrumental in the creation of its Eastern Ohio Military Affairs Commission.

Before becoming president and CEO of the Chamber, Humphries had served on its board of directors and assisted in the merger of the Youngstown, Warren and Niles chambers in 1993. He spearheaded significant initiatives over the years—addressing education and workforce needs, aesthetics and development viability and protection of some of the Valley’s greatest assets and resources—including Bring It Home (GM), Keep the Connection (Delphi), Operation SOAR (Save Our Airbase Reservists), Steel To Scholars (education) and 422 Corridor Redevelopment. He has also overseen nearly $5 billion of project investment, helped doubled the size of membership from 1,400 to nearly 3,000 and been instrumental in infrastructure projects such as the 711 Connector coming to fruition.

Humphries is a member and vice chairman of the Ohio Board of Regents, chairman of the Ohio Local Government Innovation Fund Council; founding member and board member of Team NEO; and member and past chairman of the Metro Chambers of Ohio. 

Atty. Marty Bushey of Manchester, Newman and Bennett, who serves on the Regional Chamber’s Board of Directors and was chairwoman in 2015 and 2016, said, “Having had an opportunity to work closely with Tom for the past few years, I can say without reservation that his value to the growth of this area is immeasurable. He has the respect of those who have the ability to promote and enhance our Valley, whether government officials, local business leaders or generous donors.  I am grateful for all that Tom has achieved; his dedication to the Chamber’s mission is unmatched.” 

She added that Dignan’s experience in several arenas would be beneficial to the many facets of the position he has accepted and that she anticipates a long, successful term with his leading the Chamber to continued success.