When Mike Chumo joined the staff of the Chamber in 2005, he had one of the most unique reasons to search for employment: boredom. You see, Mike had already experienced a full professional life in California, with full stints in the United States Marine Corps and involvement in countless business and charitable organizations. So when Mike retired to be near his son in Oklahoma City, he did not find retirement to his liking. He then brought his years of business expertise and his degree in economics from the University of Southern California to our business retention and expansion team in the Chamber’s economic development division.
Mike was a natural fit for our team; he innately understood that economic development is, at its heart, about building relationships and helping other people succeed. When he met with business owners and managers, he took the time to understand their unique challenges and opportunities. He was an advocate for strengthening Oklahoma City’s workforce, especially the need to connect students with job-ready technical skills. During his time at the Chamber, our BRE program had more than 3,700 company visits and helped add more than 34,000 jobs to the regional economy.
Mike passed away after 11 years at the Chamber on Aug. 30. He left a legacy that will be impossible to fill, but his impact on our organization and our community will be long lasting.