The Lubbock Chamber of Commerce (LCC) Board of Directors announced Kay McDowell, the wife of Lubbock Christian University President Scott McDowell, as the next President and CEO succeeding Eddie McBride, who is retiring after leading the Chamber since 1999.
McDowell will be responsible for leading a diverse team of volunteer business leaders and professional staff to fulfill the Chamber’s mission to strengthen, promote, and serve the Lubbock business community.
The McDowells moved to Lubbock in spring of 2019 after Dr. Scott McDowell was appointed LCU’s seventh president. Kay’s appointment as Chamber President and CEO comes after more than 25 years of experience in consumer marketing, corporate reputation, and brand building. Most recently she was an Executive Vice President of Public Relations at Mitchell Communications, a dentsu mcgarrybowen agency. During her 11-year career with Mitchell she led integrated marketing campaigns for nationally recognized brands including Procter & Gamble, Mattel, Hot Wheels, Barbie, Cracker Barrel, Massage Envy, and Tyson Foods.
As a proven innovator and creator, McDowell developed products and services to help clients reach new audiences and marketing goals. She led multi-discipline teams executing business to consumer campaigns across a variety of industries including consumer packaged goods, toys, food/beverage, retail, franchise, arts, beauty, and sports.
Early in her career, McDowell worked for the city of Memphis promoting WONDERS, a cultural exhibition series created to drive cultural tourism to the city. During her tenure, the series won the distinction as the most attended cultural exhibition in North America.
McDowell is energized by the growth and change that is happening in the greater Lubbock area. Her leadership begins during Lubbock’s city-wide branding efforts, an initiative led by the Lubbock Chamber. The project is developing a community-wide brand that supports and elevates all city organizations, entities, businesses, and residents.
“Eddie’s strong and steady leadership over the past 22 years has resulted in an award-winning Chamber,” said McDowell. “I’m honored to be entrusted to continue the legacy of excellent leadership while growing the ways the Chamber serves and promotes our thriving Lubbock business community.”
LCU President, Dr. Scott McDowell shared “Kay’s appointment is truly a culmination of a lifetime’s-worth of experience in brand and reputation-building. When I first heard about the opportunity, I encouraged her to look into it because I saw the potential there for both her and the city. She got involved as a volunteer with a branding initiative for the Chamber, and it was there that she really fell in love with the city and helping Lubbock thrive.
“We at LCU are invested in helping making Lubbock the best place it can be—from our students all the way up to our faculty,” he continued, “and I see this as a great example of that in action. We want to be Lubbock’s Christian University, and that means that we are an inextricable part of this city, that we’re invested in serving those around us. That’s what it’s all about.”
The LCC CEO search was facilitated by a committee comprised of 10 Lubbock area business leaders and Chamber board members. The process was led by Dave Marcinkowski, Partner at Madera Residential and LCC Board Chair.
“Under Eddie’s leadership our Chamber has developed a highly-respected reputation. As a result, applications for the CEO position came in from Lubbock and across the country,” stated Marcinkowski. “Kay’s extensive experience in the marketing and PR industry and her leadership abilities made her the committee’s top choice to lead our Chamber as we enter a new era. Kay recently relocated from Nashville, Tennessee to Texas so she brings a fresh perspective.”
The Lubbock Chamber of Commerce represents almost 1,500 businesses and over 79,000 employees on the South Plains, which accounts for over $2 billion in annual household earnings in Lubbock and West Texas. Since 1913 the Chamber, as a catalyst for business growth, convener of leaders and influencers, and champion for a stronger community, has served as a unified voice of business by actively advocating for a pro-jobs, pro-growth, pro-business climate.
LCU President McDowell also said, “This honor is truly an alignment with her gifts and talents. It’s an opportunity to bring her experience to give her full effort to continue the track record of success in making Lubbock to be the best it can be, and to tell the Lubbock story—the Lubbock business story.”
This story was adapted from the press release from the Lubbock Chamber of Commerce. Kay's appointment was also featured on KCBD Fox34.