Matt Pavarnik
Matt Pavarnik

Brent Boles, chairman of the Greater Topeka Chamber of Commerce, and Scott Griffith, chairman of GO Topeka, announced today that Matthew (Matt) Pivarnik, executive vice president and chief operating officer of the Tulsa Regional Chamber, will serve as president and chief executive officer of the Chamber and GO Topeka, effective Jan. 11, 2016.

Boles said the search committee worked with Waverly Partners, LLC, a firm specializing in finding chamber executives across the country.

“The extensive search process also included input and guidance from elected officials as well as business leaders in our community,” Boles said. “Chamber staff also had an opportunity to meet candidates and provide feedback. We interviewed several highly qualified candidates, and ultimately we believed Matt’s credentials, personality and enthusiasm for our community’s progress and potential made him the ideal choice. We are thrilled to have him join us and look forward to his leadership.”

Boles said Topekans who participated in an inter-city visit to Tulsa in 2014 had met Pivarnik then and were impressed by his professionalism and ideas, particularly as they pertained to economic development, recruiting and retaining young professionals and enhancing quality of life through entrepreneurial and recreational efforts.

“It’s fantastic to think that he will be joining us and applying the expertise he gained through Tulsa’s transformation to our city,” said Boles.

In his role with the Tulsa Regional Chamber, Pivarnik works closely with a 20-member executive committee of a board of directors comprising more than 90 members. He supervises 40 staff members and has dotted line responsibility to the senior vice president-economic development. He works closely with two senior vice presidents who oversee the Convention and Visitors Bureau and Workforce Development. He is responsible for strategies and operations of the chamber and advises officers, the CEO and board members on program, finance and long-term strategic planning for economic development, tourism, workforce, political advocacy, community development and education.

His previous experience includes positions as a vice president with Oklahoma Credit Union Association in Tulsa and 66 Federal Credit Union in Bartlesville, Oklahoma. He is a certified chamber executive through the Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives and a graduate of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Institute for Organization Management. He has a bachelor’s degree in business management from Northeastern State University.

Pivarnik is the founder of MAKO, a professional development organization for chamber executives in Missouri, Arkansas, Kansas and Oklahoma; chair of the national board of trustees for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Institute for Organization Management; and a member of the Tulsa Area United Way Campaign Leadership Team and the National Rainmakers Council.

He served on the board of directors of Junior Achievement and is a member of the Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives executive committee and board of directors. Pivarnik is a past chair of the University of Arizona Board of Regents and a former board member and past chair of the Oklahoma Chamber of Commerce Executives.

Pivarnik will be relocating to Topeka with his wife, Wendy, and three sons.

Pivarnik’s compensation includes an annual salary of $220,000, split between the Chamber and GO Topeka, as well as other benefits and bonus options.

“We worked with Creative Business Solutions to assess competitive salaries for this position based on communities comparable to Topeka with similar chamber structures,” said Boles. “We are eager to begin the new year with Matt in place and excited about the possibilities ahead for Topeka’s economic vitality and quality of life.”

Matt Lara

Matt Lara

Matt is the resident social media guru and website guy, working on the marketing and communications team. He supports GO Topeka, the Topeka Chamber of Commerce, Entrepreneurial & Minority Business Development, Forge and Heartland Visioning.
Matt Lara