Gwinnett Chamber CEO announces retirement; search on for replacement

Dan Kaufman will retire this summer from his role as president and CEO of the Gwinnett Chamber.

Kaufman — who will play an active role in the search for his successor, officials said — has led the Chamber since July 2013. Prior to that, he served as the founding president of Georgia Gwinnett College and was a decorated officer in the United States Army.

His retirement will be effective June 30.

In a statement issued via news release, Kaufman said it had been his honor to serve the Chamber, which advocates for and helps bolster local businesses while luring others to the area.

“Our goal has been to make the Chamber relevant and credible for the entire Gwinnett community, and the extraordinarily talented members of the Chamber staff work hard every day to ensure that we continue to advance our region’s economy and enrich the quality of life for every Gwinnett citizen,” he said.

“I am confident that Gwinnett will continue to grow and thrive and enhance its reputation as the community of choice in which to live, learn, work, and play. I am equally confident that the Gwinnett Chamber will continue to be an integral part of that success.”

While the search for Kaufman's replacement has already begun, his formal departure will be more than three months after Gwinnett's historic March 19 election on joining MARTA. That means the retirement is unlikely to throw a wrench into the referendum-related efforts of the Chamber — which officials said "will be heavily engaged in building voter support for the measure."

During his time at the Chamber, Kaufman is credited with significantly expanding the organization’s engagement with regional partners like the Atlanta Regional Commission, the Metro Atlanta Chamber and the Georgia Department of Economic Development; with creating Gwinnett’s small business resources initiative; and with re-invigorating groups like Gwinnett Young Professionals and others helping under-served segments of the population.

At Georgia Gwinnett College, Kaufman served as founding president. At GGC’s start in 2006, it had just over 100 students.

The school had nearly 10,000 when he departed seven years later.

Kaufman, a 1968 graduate of the United States Military Academy at West Point, retired from the military in 2005. A brigadier general, he had most recently served as Dean of the Academic Board and Chief Academic Officer at West Point.

Kaufman’s military service included tours in the U.S. and Vietnam, where he received the Bronze Star for heroism and two Purple Heaerts.

He served as a staff member on the National Security Council in the White House and was involved in the development in the National Military Academy of Afghanistan, which opened in 2005 in Kabul.