RICHARD E. BLOUSE JR.:
 
RICHARD E. BLOUSE JR.




 
 
 
 
 
is President and CEO of the Detroit Regional Chamber, a veteran of 13 years in the position. During that time, Blouse led a financial turnaround, transformed the organization into a regional, national, and international force, and made it the largest chamber of commerce in the United States. Membership during his tenure has grown from 10,000 organizations to 23,000. He pioneered relationships with business diversity organizations and groups that overcome city-suburb divides. He led the creation of the Detroit Regional Economic Partnership, the Coalition for Regional Transit, and the Design Regional Detroit Initiative. Earlier in his career he was a chamber executive in smaller communities and held jobs as diverse as high school teacher and camera shop owner. He has bachelorís and masterís degrees in education from Millersville University in Pennsylvania.


WHERE BORN: "Hanover, Pennsylvania."

MOST INFLUENTIAL PERSONS: "Certainly my wife, Elaine, and my father. I think a lot of my work ethic came from my father, how hard he worked and how he served in many volunteer capacities. And I think, also, the past chairs of the chamber. Iíve had 30-some past chairs during my years in this business and Iíve learned something about management style from all of them."

LAST BOOK READ: "I love historical fiction, so when I get a minute to read, thatís what I read. The last book I read was Bernard Cornwell's The Pale Horseman. Itís a story about the Danes and the Vikings set in the year 800."

WORDS THAT DESCRIBE ME: "Caring and considerate, probably to the point of being naÔve. Visionary. I think Iím a take-charge type of person. And Iíd like to think that 'leader' describes me."

WHERE MY FIELD/INDUSTRY IS HEADED: "Itís changing. Chamber CEOs today are being looked at as leaders in community efforts. Thirty years ago it might have been a Coleman Young or a Henry Ford. The chamber CEO is not looked at as a secretary or manager any more, but as a leader. So unfortunately for people in the industry, people being hired as chamber presidents are people who are already leaders in the community. That means that there arenít that many Dick Blouses out there any more -- who start as a chamber executive in a smaller town and move up."

FAVORITE TECHNOLOGICAL GADGET: "People would tell you that Iím a technology freak, anything new I want to try. I love my iPod. And Iíve come to really love the BlackBerry. It was so neat to be in India and be in real time with emails and everything else."

FAVORITE PLACE: "Iím an introvert according to Myers-Briggs. When I want to relax I head to the mountains of the Blue Ridge, where my wife and I have a favorite bed and breakfast outside of Gatlinburg, or the home I built in Southport, North Carolina."

FAVORITE HOBBY: "Iíd say photography is probably my favorite pastime. When I started out in life as a chemistry teacher, I had a photo shop with my parents. I love sports, too, but Iím a sports fan and not a participant."

FAVORITE FOOD: "Iím just a farm guy from Pennsylvania. A good burger Iíd drive 15 miles to get. I love my motherís meat loaf and ham gravy. And I love fish. Great Lakes whitefish is always very good."

MY HIDDEN TALENT: "I think Iím a really good facilitator, whether itís a planning retreat or just a process."

HOW I WANT TO BE REMEMBERED: "I tell people in speeches, my legacy will be the people I touch along the way in lifeís journey."