Robinson leaves valleywide chamber |

Robinson leaves valleywide chamber

Scott N. Miller
Vail, CO Colorado
Michael Robinson

AVON ” The county’s biggest chamber of commerce is looking for a new boss.

The Vail Valley Partnership Thursday announced that director and chief executive officer Michael Robinson had resigned. His last day at work was Wednesday.

Robinson, who came to the valley from the Beverly Hills Chamber of Commerce, had been on the job since June of 2006. He replaced Frank Johnson, who resigned as director of the group in August of 2005 after leading the group for 14 years.

Both Robinson and one member of the chamber’s board of directors said he’s leaving on friendly terms.

“I was hired as a change agent and that change has been made,” Robinson said. “Now it’s time for the organization to settle in.”

The changes the group made during Robinson’s tenure included moving to a new office suite in Avon from its longtime home in Vail, and changing the name of the group from the Vail Valley Chamber and Tourism Bureau to the Vail Valley Partnership.

“We’ve turned this into a relevant, progressive, value-based organization,” Robinson said.

With Robinson out, board member Tony O’Rourke said the group will now look for a leader with stronger local ties.

“Our focus now is to secure a director with better local knowledge, and a better feel for the players and relationships in this valley,” said O’Rourke, the president of the Beaver Creek Resort Company.

O’Rourke said as opposed to the last, nationwide, search for a director, this one would focus on the Vail Valley and, perhaps, the Front Range.

“This is a small place, but there’s a lot of talent here,” O’Rourke said.

The nationwide search that brought Robinson to the Vail Valley took about eight months. Partnership board president Greg Repetti said he’d like the next search to be much shorter, since it will be focused on finding someone with a good working knowledge of the ski industry and, if possible, the valley.

“I’d like to see that search compressed from about eight months to about four,” Repetti said. “It’s a terrific opportunity for somebody.”

During the search for a new director, O’Rourke said the chamber would be run primarily by the four current department directors.

“I don’t expect us to miss a beat,” O’Rourke said.

One member of the group, though, said he’d like to see some changes in the way the Partnership treats its smallest members.

Kevin Allen is the owner and sole employee of High Country Computer Services in Eagle.

Allen joined the group shortly after going into business last year. He said he’s enjoyed the company and the beer at the group’s monthly mixers, but has only gotten one client lead from his membership.

“There’s so many ways the Partnership could help small business,” Allen said. “I hope they start.”

Business Editor Scott N. Miller can be reached at 748-2930, or

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