Leonardo McLarty to leave DeKalb Chamber after nearly 10 years

By Maria Saporta

Leonardo McLarty, president of the DeKalb Chamber of Commerce for nearly 10 years, will leave the organization on May 23 to become director of economic and community development for the City of York, Pa beginning on June 2.

McLarty sent an email earlier today to DeKalb Chamber members and friends letting them know of his upcoming move.

“This decision to relocate and leave the DeKalb Chamber comes with mixed emotions,” McLarty wrote. “I am truly excited about this upcoming chapter in my life and the opportunities that lie ahead.”

Leonardo McLarty

Leonardo McLarty

McLarty then qualified that excitement with the sadness of leaving Georgia.

“Yet, I am leaving my home state and many wonderful people,” he continued. “DeKalb County is the place where I have grown both personally and professionally. Of my nearly 16 years of professional employment, 13 have been in this wonderful county. Your words of encouragement and support have sustained this organization over some challenging times. Your steadfastness has allowed this organization to grow and experience three consecutive years of positive financial growth. To date, we are poised to have one of our best years yet.”

Describing this as a “period of transition” for the DeKalb Chamber, McLarty urged members to support the staff and the organization’s board.

“We are soaring to new heights and are making an impact on the DeKalb County community,” McLarty wrote. “This growth can only continue if you continue to support the Chamber staff and our volunteer leadership with your time, talents, and resources. I am convinced now more than ever of the value of a strong Chamber. Positive change comes when people are united on common goals and missions. There is power in one voice.”

The email did not discuss how the DeKalb Chamber board will seek to replace McLarty. The economic development structure in DeKalb County has been undergoing some reorganization with a partnership being created between the Chamber, the Development Authority and the county government. It also is not known what role McLarty’s departure will play in the future of that partnership.

The DeKalb Chamber celebrated its 75th anniversary last year.

Maria Saporta, Editor, is a longtime Atlanta business, civic and urban affairs journalist with a deep knowledge of our city, our region and state.  Since 2008, she has written a weekly column and news stories for the Atlanta Business Chronicle. Prior to that, she spent 27 years with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, becoming its business columnist in 1991. Maria received her Master’s degree in urban studies from Georgia State and her Bachelor’s degree in journalism from Boston University. Maria was born in Atlanta to European parents and has two young adult children.

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