View From the Lake: W.E. “Bill” Russell, President & CEO of the Lake Norman Chamber of Commerce

Last month, the Lake Norman Chamber of Commerce celebrated 35 years of service to the regional business community and for 27 years, Bill Russell has served as its President & CEO. Russell began his career with the Chamber in January of 1996 when he moved to Lake Norman. Since then, he has seen a tremendous amount of growth and change. “When I moved to Huntersville the town’s population was just over 3,000 people.  Today, more than 60,000 people call Huntersville home.”

Russell recently celebrated 30 years in the chamber profession, first serving as President of the United States Junior Chamber of Commerce (Jaycees) before assuming his first chamber role in Charleston’s Lowcountry (SC) at the Tri-County Regional Chamber. Under his leadership the Chamber, which serves the Cornelius, Davidson, Huntersville, Mooresville, and greater Lake Norman region has grown to a business organization of more than 800+ members.

Lake Norman Women’s Conference with staff members Laura Rizzetta and Sylvia Spury

The Chamber created Visit Lake Norman, the region’s premier travel and tourism organization in 2001 and the Lake Norman Economic Development Corporation in 2003. The EDC’s role is to create primary job creation and attract larger corporate businesses to the region.

While the chamber is known for its many networking events and professional development seminars, Russell is extremely proud of its role as a business advocate. The chamber plays a pivotal role in lobbying for more schools, roads, and better infrastructure to support the amazing growth at Lake Norman. In 2015, the Lake Norman Chamber was recognized as the most outstanding chamber of commerce in North and South Carolina by the Carolinas Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives. “It’s always rewarding to be singled out by your peers in the industry as the Best of the Best,” says Russell.

“The Lake Norman Chamber has been very blessed these three and a half decades with leadership from committed Chamber Boards, outstanding Board Chairs, and most importantly, our engaged members and staff,” he adds.

Boat Cruise on Lake Norman with Laurie Gillmore and Past Chamber Chair Joshua Dobi

This month, the Chamber will hold its signature event – the Lake Norman Business Expo October 11th at the Huntersville Recreation Center.  It is the largest business to business trade show in the Charlotte region. The Expo, which is open to the public, will showcase 120 businesses and organizations.

When not working at the chamber, Russell loves a little down time horseback riding, working on his family farm, and spending time with Henry – his rescued Old English Sheep Dog.


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