Indiana 250: Kevin Brinegar of the Indiana Chamber of Commerce

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(Photo courtesy of Kevin Brinegar)

Kevin Brinegar was named president and CEO of the Indiana Chamber of Commerce—the second-largest state chamber of commerce in the nation—in 2002, but he’s been with the organization more than 30 years. He will retire from the chamber, one of the most powerful lobbying organizations in the state, in January. Brinegar also oversees the largest chamber-based political action committee in the country, in addition to a federal political action committee and three not-for-profit and two for-profit chamber subsidiaries. He’s president of the Noblesville School Board.

First job

My first job was as a caddy at a golf course in Bloomington, where I grew up. I learned the importance of hard work, being on time, as well as interpersonal communications with the gentlemen and ladies I was caddying for. I also learned the rules and etiquette of the game of golf. I also observed cheating at times and learned how that made me feel and the reality of the old adage, “Cheaters never win.”

Job swap

Use my years of experience in management, advocacy and leadership to be a principal of a high school.

Favorite thing about being a leader

Getting things accomplished for the benefit of our members through the staff I lead.

Something surprising

At the very beginning of my career, I was a police officer and once delivered a baby during a snowstorm before the EMTs could get there.

Admires most

Abraham Lincoln, for the courage and resolve he showed for leading our country through its most difficult of times.

Favorite device

My iPod touch, because it allows me to have my 30,000-song music library with me at home and in the car.

Toughest challenge

A neck fusion surgery that didn’t go well and put me in a rehab hospital for three weeks with many uncertainties as to the future of my vision, my ability to drive, and more.

On leadership

There is no one patent answer or approach. The answer/solution is, “it depends” on all the circumstances involved and who you are dealing with. Often, the answer comes from your gut and your heart, not a textbook or leadership book or course.

Walk-up song

The intro to “Skynyrd Nation,” by Lynyrd Skynyrd.

Favorite sports team

Pacers, Red Sox and Colts

Favorite thing about living in Indiana

Cost of living, relative ease of travel, friendly people.

Worries about

Indiana missing opportunities due to perceptions of being an unwelcoming place to live and work.

Pets

We have a black and yellow Labrador. Our daughter has two chocolate Labradors, and our son has two Beagliers (half Beagle, half King Charles Cavalier). Fortunately, we have two acres for them all to romp around [in].•

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