Chamber executive director to take indefinite medical leave

Published 1:00 am Friday, October 27, 2017

The Albert Lea-Freeborn County Chamber of Commerce announced Thursday its executive director, Randy Kehr, will take an indefinite medical leave, according to a news release.

Randy Kehr

Kehr, who has served at the chamber since 2007, has battled cancer since mid-July. 

Tom Newell, longtime leader of Minnesota Freezer Warehouse, will serve as interim executive director. Newell, who retired in 2014, brings extensive business experience to the chamber and is familiar to many in the community, the release stated. Since he retired, he has served as a volunteer for many community organizations.

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He will take on his new role starting Monday.

“We are fortunate to have Tom available to serve while Randy recovers,” said Justin Oman of Security Bank and new chamber board chairman. “The board believes that Tom’s leadership experience will be extremely useful during this time.”

Tom Newell

Minnesota Freezer Warehouse joined the Albert Lea community in 1963 under the direction of Newell’s father. Tom Newell relocated his family to Albert Lea in 1978 and has remained active in the community ever since, the release stated.

Newell said he utilized the chamber while working in the business community.

“I feel that the chamber serves a good role for advocacy for the county’s business,” he said. “I used them for that role in the past, and I foresee that members’ needs will be handled in the same manner.”