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We capitalize on the nearly thirty-four years of experience our principal, Rob O'Brian, has in Chambers of Commerce, economic development, and workforce and community development initiatives..

Rob is a graduate of the Institute for Organization Management and has the Certified Economic Developer (CEcD) designation by the International Economic Development Council.  During his career, he has been active in economic and industrial development at the local and state level.  Rob has developed programs for business attraction, business retention and expansion and international marketing.  He has also developed business parks and speculative buildings.

With his leadership the Joplin Area Chamber of Commerce developed a business incubator and a center for advanced technical training to meet the needs of area employers.  This and other workforce development initiatives that have received state and state recogniation.  Rob has been recognized by Missouri's Workforce Investment Board as a "Business Partner of the Year" for his efforts tying workforce and economic development efforts together at the local level and by the Missouri Community College Assocation for work on the training center. 

Rob has worked on community development issues.  He is a co-founder of a regional alliance to  bring a medical school to Joplin, the first new medical school in Missouri in nearly fifty years.  He is currently a member of Joplin's Connect2Culture board, working on a  new $15-million visual arts and performance center for the community.  

Rob was one of the key community leaders that worked to bring Joplin back from the worst natural disaster In Missouri history, the 2011 tornado that claimed 161 lives, did more than $2-billion in damage and damaged more than 500 business and organizations putting 5,000 jobs at risk.  Rob and the Chamber team led the way in establishing programs for business recovery with more than 90% of the firms still in business today and scores of new companies coming to the area.  Rob was recognized nationally with the Small Business Administration's Phoenix Award for disaster recovery. 
(See Bio below for more) 
               And Associates
We can help you cover a lot, but sometimes organizations need a depth of expertise in key areas and that's where our associates come in.  With nearly thirty-four years in economic, workforce and community development, we have a lot of relationships with experts in organization management and structure, branding and marketing, workforce development and education, business park and spec building design and construction, and community planning.  And when more resources are needed to bring projects to reality, we have relatlionships with one of the top fund-raising firms in the U.S.  


After serving two Chambers of Commerce in Indiana, Rob O'Brian led the Joplin Area Chamber of Commerce and championed the economy for the region for more than 23 years. He worked with scores of companies to bring more than 13,000 jobs to the region, was instrumental in the development of the I-49 corridor, created the Crossroads Business Park, Newman Innovation Center and the Advanced Technology and Training Center.

In the photo on the right, Rob addresses the crowd attending his final Chamber Banquet in April, 2018, when he officially retired to pursue helping other organizations and communities through O'Brian & Associates.   

Founder's Bio

President of the Joplin Area Chamber of Commerce 1995 - 2018

Job Description:                        
Oversee the operation of the Chamber; lead the economic development efforts for the Joplin area

Educational Background:        
Magna Cum Laude Bachelors Degree; Ball State University, Muncie, IN.      
Major: telecommunications     Minor: journalism, political science 

Certified Economic Developer (CEcD) designation by the International Economic          Development Council

Civic/Business Activities:         
President, Joplin Business and Industrial Development Corporation

President of the Joplin Regional Partnership

Vice-president, Joplin Industrial Development Authority

Board Member and past-President, Missouri Economic Development Financing Association

Past-president, Missouri Chamber Federation

Past -president, Missouri Economic Development Council

Past-president, Chamber of Commerce Executives of Missouri          

Past-member, State Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors      

Past-member, Southern Economic Development Council Board of Directors
District Chairman, Missouri Transportation Alliance

Co-founder and past co-chair, I-49 Corridor Coalition (Missouri)
Member, U.S. Chamber of Commerce Transportation & Infrastructure Committee

Past-Board member, Community Foundation of Southwest Missouri
(term ended Dec 2016)

Board member and secretary, Joplin Regional Medical School Alliance (one of the original organizers with Dr. Larry McIntire, Brad Beecher at Empire)

Board member, Connect2Culture

Past-chairman, United Way Campaign
Member, Governor Matt Blunt’s Reinventing Missouri Government Task Force, economic development, workforce development, and tax policy groups

2005 Missouri Economic Developer of the Year (MEDC)
For role in development and passage of the Missouri Quality Jobs and local economic development sales tax legislation.

2005 Governor’s Award for Economic Development Excellence in Workforce Development (MO. Dept. of Workforce Development)

2007 Missourian Award recipient

2007 Outstanding Citizen, Ozark Trails District Boy Scout Council

2007 National Distinguished Eagle Scout Recipient, Boy Scouts of America

2010 Top Level Executive Award from the Chamber of Commerce Executives of Missouri (CCEM)

2011 Signet Award Recipient from the Joplin Tri-State Business Journal

2012 Governor’s Award for Career Service in Economic Development

2013 Phoenix Award from the U.S. Small Business Administration, for public service in disaster recovery

2014 Regional “Men of Distinction” recognition, Joplin Regional Business Journal
Prior to working in Joplin, Rob was President of the Warsaw, IN Chamber, May, 1990- March, 1995 and Vice-president of economic development at the Muncie-Delaware County Chamber of Commerce, Muncie, IN, 1985-1990.   Prior to that, Rob spent ten years in broadcasting doing news in small and mid-market radio stations and cable television.  During the last five years of that time, he also taught broadcast journalism at Ball State University in Muncie, IN.

Graduate of South Shelby High School, Shelbina, MO