Greater Bentonville Area Chamber of Commerce hires Brandom Gengelbach as president, CEO

by Paul Gatling ([email protected]) 1,175 views 

Brandom Gengelbach, previously the president and CEO of the Fort Worth Chamber of Commerce in Texas, has accepted the same role with the Greater Bentonville Area Chamber of Commerce (GBACC).

Bentonville chamber officials announced the news Tuesday (Oct. 31) at the Rogers Convention Center, the site of this week’s Northwest Arkansas Technology Summit. The annual gathering is one of the Bentonville chamber’s flagship events.

Gengelbach started the job Monday.

“The [GBACC] executive committee and board of directors are excited and confident that Brandom Gengelbach’s rich background in business and chamber leadership, economic development, and a commitment to fostering strategic economic growth makes Brandom the ideal President and CEO,” Martine Downs Pollard, chair of the chamber’s board of directors, said in a statement. Pollard is vice president of Northwest Arkansas for Arkansas Blue Cross Blue Shield. “Brandom brings a wealth of experience, along with a deep-rooted passion for the business community. Combining that with his down-to-earth and personable demeanor, we know he is poised to lead and steer the chamber to new heights during this time of dynamic growth.”

Gengelbach is the chamber’s first full-time chief executive since December 2021, when Graham Cobb resigned to accept a job with Walton Enterprises in Bentonville. Ashley Wardlow, who joined the chamber in 2020, stepped into the job on an interim basis in early 2022. Wardlow is beginning a job next month as executive director of the Botanical Garden of the Ozarks in Fayetteville.

“I am truly honored to join the Greater Bentonville Area Chamber of Commerce, an organization that plays a pivotal and convening role in promoting business and enhancing the overall quality of life in Greater Bentonville and Northwest Arkansas,” Gengelbach said. “I look forward to working closely with our members, community partners and stakeholders to help build an even brighter economic future for our region.

“And it doesn’t hurt that Bentonville is known for its cycling community. The cyclist in me can’t wait to explore all of the trails Northwest Arkansas has to offer.”

According to a news release, Gengelbach has more than 20 years of economic development and chamber of commerce experience, both domestic and international, with positions held in Nashville, Tenn., Indianapolis and Brisbane, Australia.

Gengelbach joined the chamber in 2016 as executive vice president of economic development and was promoted to CEO in August 2020. He resigned from the job earlier this year.

“With the relaunch of our (CEO) search this past spring, alongside the launch of our strategic visioning work, our board of directors and advisors have been on a thoughtful and strategic journey with a commitment to getting it right,” Pollard said. “Brandom’s impressive career and notable attributes make him a great fit to drive and lead the chamber’s mission forward. We are excited for Brandom to take the helm and to welcome him and his family to Bentonville and Northwest Arkansas.”

Gengelbach grew up in Houston and the Plano-Addison area in Texas. He holds a master’s degree in business administration from the University of Southampton, near London, where he was a Rotary Ambassadorial Scholar. He received a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Samford University in Birmingham, Ala.

The chamber will host a public welcome event for Gengelbach on Wednesday (Nov. 1) from 4-6 p.m. at the Rogers Convention Center.