Muscatine business group chooses mayor as new chief

The Greater Muscatine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GMCCI) picked a familiar face as its new president / CEO – Muscatine Mayor Brad Bark.

The president and CEO is responsible for executing a plan to meet the following strategic directions
for GMCCI: business services and advocacy, talent cultivation and workforce development, business expansion and recruitment, commercial corridor revitalization, entrepreneurship and innovation, and tourism and marketing, according to a Thursday release.

Muscatine chiropractor Brad Bark has been the city mayor since January 2022.

This position became available with the resignation of Erik Reader, who moved on to another opportunity after serving in the role for two years.

A nationwide public search was conducted, which included support of two recruitment firms. Several candidates with a wide array of backgrounds in chamber of commerce and economic development were screened or interviewed throughout the three-month search process.

Ultimately, the ideal candidate was right here in Muscatine, the release said. “The Board is excited to have an opportunity to work with Dr. Brad Bark, as the next President and CEO of GMCCI, ”says it, noting he has been dedicated to Muscatine since his move to the city in 2007.

The city of Muscatine had a population of 23,797 in 2020 (muscatineiowa.gov).

He had a successful chiropractic clinic and also worked to renovate additional buildings downtown. “He sees the potential in the people and other assets in Muscatine and is passionate about working with others to bring Muscatine to its full potential,” the release says.

Bark has just been the city’s mayor since January 2022. He opened his own chiropractic clinic in 2011, the same year he graduated from Palmer College of Chiropractic in Davenport.

“I recognize that serving in both these roles provides some unique opportunities and some unique challenges.” he said in Thursday’s release of serving as mayor and chamber CEO simultaneously. “I plan to work through any challenges by remaining committed to my approach of always listening to what people have to say and working to find common ground.”

As mayor, Bark is a nonvoting member of the Muscatine City Council. However, should any conflict of interest arise between the City Council and GMCCI business, Mayor Bark will exercise the ability to recuse himself, the business group said.

Bark is expected to begin his new duties at GMCCI on July 6th.

“Brad has demonstrated a strong commitment to making Muscatine great. He is somebody with good vision and excellent relationship building skills and those talents will serve GMCCI and our members well in the coming years, ”Gage Huston, board chair of GMCCI, said in the release. “The current GMCCI staff are doing so many great things and I look forward to working with Brad to continue building on that past success.

A home page image from the Greater Muscatine Chamber website, muscatine.com.

“Many people in Muscatine, including business owners, reached out to the board to express support for Bark’s candidacy,” Huston said. “His cooperation and great people-skills and passion for his hometown were highlighted many times.”

The current staff of GMCCI includes Rebecca Paulsen, Hannah Howard and Dena Ferreira.

“I am very excited to join the team at GMCCI,” Bark said. “I’ve been so impressed with the work that the current staff have been doing over the past couple of years and I’m anxious to get to work with them more closely to serve Muscatine and our members.”

For more information, visit the group’s website.

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