(Posted July 5, 2022)
By Kristy Zurbrick, Madison Editor
Jon McKanna, the new executive director of the Madison County Chamber of Commerce, comes to the position with a strong knowledge of the Madison County area.
For 18 years, he has operated a consulting business, providing leadership and drug-free workplace training for companies of all sizes, primarily in Ohio, including several businesses in Madison County.
“I’ve always been impressed with the area and the friendliness of everybody I worked with,” McKanna said.
Among those he has worked with is David Kell, the former executive director of the Chamber of Commerce. Kell now serves as the economic and planning director for the county, a new position approved by the county commissioners.
“David helped me to become familiar with the surroundings,” said McKanna who, through his consulting firm, conducted several Lunch & Learn and safety council talks for the Chamber.
McKanna also has experience working with several Plain City businesses and is a member of the Plain City Business Association’s executive committee. His connections with the city of London are strong, too. He has led leadership training with the city’s administrative staff and been in talks with the city and county regarding workforce development training.
McKanna has direct experience with chambers of commerce, having served as president of the Ottawa Area Chamber of Commerce and performing chamber leadership training.
“I have an idea of what chambers do to help companies become the best versions of themselves. I know what tools, benefits, and services I could provide,” he said.
Prior to running his consulting firm, McKanna spent 20 years as director of outpatient counseling centers for mental health and substance abuse. He hopes to put this experience to work at the Chamber, tapping into and collaborating with non-profit resources in the county.
Besides his familiarity with Madison County, McKanna said he chose to apply for the Chamber position because the area reminds him of home. He grew up on a hog farm in Putnam County in northwest Ohio.
“It felt like a good fit,” he said.
He also was attracted to the opportunity to focus his energy on a specific area.
“I thought it was time to gear down some of the travel I have to do for the consulting business. The Chamber position allows me to stay focused on one key area,” he said.
McKanna’s first day on the job at the Chamber was May 2. His first order of business was to jump into planning and organizing the Chamber’s annual golf outing. He also has been getting to know the organization’s members and the community as a whole.
As for goals, McKanna said the board and staff are revisiting the Chamber’s vision and mission.
“Now that COVID has calmed down, we want to look at what areas we can improve,” he said, listing membership recruitment and retention and new ways to bring more benefits to members.
He also is looking out for the next generation of workers.
“I want to really evaluate the career path for young people to try to bring more resources to help them get focused on their talent and strengths and get them headed in the right direction as soon as possible,” he said.
McKanna lives with wife, Linda, in Delaware. Outside of work, he is now in his 45th year serving as a referee for high school football.