Ken Moore’s legacy in the business community

Edmond business leaders fondly remember former Edmond Chamber leader and friend Ken Moore.
Janet Yowell, Ken Moore, and another individual

Ken Moore may have been the most accomplished Chamber of Commerce executive in Oklahoma. Having led Chambers for nearly 50 years in five states, his influence extended around the country. Sadly, Moore passed away just a few weeks ago at the age of 76. Business leaders across Edmond praised his career and servant-hearted leadership during Moore’s time as the president and CEO of the Edmond Chamber from 2006-2016. 

Phil Kerbo, sales manager for AmeriPride Services and vice-chair of the Edmond Chamber’s executive committee, helped bring Ken to Edmond and got to know him well.

“There are two words that describe Ken,” Kerbo said. “He was always genuine and sincere about everything that he said and did, with his leadership and on a personal level. With the Chamber, the Edmond community, and the people, he showed such compassion. That’s where his heart was. The community is better because of that.

“He was a firm believer in servant leadership. That’s exactly what he did. He was a positive leader who led by example. He always praised others instead of taking credit for things for himself.” 

Ken Moore, past CEO of the Edmond Chamber and Sherry Jordan, his immediate successor (Photo provided)

Sherry Jordan succeeded Ken as president of the Edmond Chamber, and she benefited from his helping spirit.  

“He just had a true heart for being a mentor,” she said. “He spent his whole career running Chambers of Commerce across the country, and he loved being a mentor to people in the industry. Because of his legacy and those who came before him, we have worked really hard to be at the forefront of the Chamber industry. 

“The Edmond Chamber goes through an accreditation process through the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and five years ago Ken helped us achieve a 5-star designation, which less than 1% of Chambers get. When I took over, continuing that was a way to continue the legacy he started, and we recently received our second 5-star designation.”

Another Edmond business leader, Executive Director of the Edmond Economic Development Authority Janet Yowell, noted Ken’s dedication to helping others.

Janet Yowell, Ken Moore, and another individual with birthday cake (Photo provided)

“Ken was such a wonderful guy,” she said. “We took many trips to Washington, D.C., to visit our delegation. He knew how to work on those trips, but he worked just as hard at adding fun into them, which always included eating at his favorite restaurants. We hosted people at Thunder games, and he spent countless hours perfecting tours for Edmond sister cities delegations. We spent many ‘exciting’ hours at city council meetings just to make sure we stayed up to date with decisions that would affect business. He made my job easier and more fun, and I am better at it because of him.”

Similarly, Amanda Bowen, director of leadership programs at the Edmond Chamber, recalled Ken’s focus on improvement and fun.

“Ken was a pillar in the Chamber profession,” she said. “He always wanted us to continue to improve and look for best practices. He encouraged learning from other Chambers. He also wanted us to share what worked for us with colleagues at other Chambers. 

“He cared for his staff immensely. We worked hard, but he always wanted it to be fun, too. He truly took an interest in each person on his staff. He also loved Edmond and worked hard to build relationships with other leaders in the community. It is rare to see a community where all the leaders from different organizations work together so well.”

Kerbo agreed with Bowen regarding Ken’s ability to bring people together. 

Ken Moore occasionally grilled at Chamber events (Photo provided)

“The community rallied together in unity because of his leadership,” he said. “Because of him, the Chamber, the city leadership, the business community, and everyone worked together. It was because of his passion and leadership.

“He loved Edmond and loved Oklahoma. It’s still hard to believe he’s no longer with us. He was a good friend and a mentor to me. For that, I am very appreciative, and I’m a better person because of him.”

Edmond Councilman Nick Massey worked closely over the years with Moore. Massey shared, “Not only was he a great leader, he was kind and encouraging to all and we became good friends. Even after he retired, we often talked and I would see him about town. I always enjoyed our talks and time together and will definitely miss him. Our hearts go out to Ken’s family.”

Ken Moore with two of the Thunder Girls (Photo provided)

Ken was a proud member of the Edmond Rotary Club and a board member for Visit Edmond. He was a proud fan of the OU Sooners and the OKC Thunder. Ken is survived by his two sons – Rick Moore of Longmont, Colorado, and Keith Moore of Washington, D.C.; his granddaughter Aspen Arnold of Dallas, Texas; and his grandson Jake Moore of Boulder, Colorado. The family asked donations be made to the newly created Ken Moore Endowed Scholarship at the University of Central Oklahoma Foundation via www.centralconnection.org/kenmoore.

Though it does not fully do justice to Ken’s many accomplishments, the list below highlights Ken’s impressive Chamber career. 

He served as president of the Norman Chamber of Commerce, executive vice president of the Oklahoma State Chamber of Commerce, president of the Orange County California Chamber of Commerce, and executive vice president of the Orange County Business Council.

Ken served as president of the Oklahoma Chamber of Commerce Executives and president of the Oklahoma Economic Development Council. He served two terms on the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Institute for Organization Management’s Board of Trustees and served as chairman of management programs at the University of Oklahoma and Southern Methodist University. He served as a member of the executive faculty at UCLA, University of Oklahoma, University of Colorado, and Southern Methodist University for more than 15 years.

Ken Moore receiving an award (Photo provided)

Ken served as one of eight members on the American Chamber of Commerce Executives Fringe Benefit Board of Trustees, which oversees the organization’s multimillion-dollar fringe benefit programs, and was a member of the board of directors of the Virginia Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives. He is a former member of the board of directors of the American Chamber of Commerce Executives and the Western Association of Chamber Executives. Ken was appointed by the U. S. Chamber of Commerce to serve on the prestigious Chamber of Commerce Committee of 100.

He served on the Board of Directors of the Alexandria Volunteer Bureau, the Alexandria Police Foundation, the Alexandria United Way, and was Past President of First Night Alexandria. In 1999, Moore was recognized as the “Professional of the Year” by the Oklahoma Society of Associations Executives. He was named “Executive of the Year” by the Oklahoma Chamber of Commerce and was the second person selected for the Oklahoma Chamber of Commerce Executives Hall of Fame. The Western Association of Chamber Executives presented him with its Pettit Award for “Excellence in Leadership” in 1996.

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About Josh Watson

Josh Watson is a freelance writer, public relations consultant, and tenured associate professor of communication at Oklahoma Christian University. He advises OC’s student-run PR firm, Eagle PR, and the university’s Public Relations Student Society of America chapter. Previously, he worked on award-winning state and national campaigns at McNeely Pigott & Fox in Nashville, one of the nation's top independent PR firms. Dr. Watson has helped his students earn numerous awards and recognitions, especially in national campaign competitions. His wife, Chara, teaches speech and theater at Oklahoma Christian Academy, where their four children attend.