IMPERIAL COUNTY — Westmorland, Imperial, and El Centro Chambers of Commerce voted in favor of merging to form the Imperial Valley Regional Chamber of Commerce (IVRCC) in December 2020. The Executive Board, consisting of two representatives from each respective chamber, was formed and began meeting weekly to build the foundation of the new entity.

All staff of the respective chambers were guaranteed a position in the new entity. The Executive Board promoted the CEO position initially as an internal opportunity only, however, due to varying circumstances, there were no internal candidates who applied for the position. The CEO position was opened to external candidates to apply on January 24.

The IVRCC announced they have hired Daniel Sohn to be the CEO of the new entity. While the legal details of the new entity are being finalized, Sohn initially will start as an employee of the El Centro Chamber of Commerce. However, his primary focus will be on the development of the Imperial Valley Regional Chamber of Commerce, with an agreement to transition to the role of CEO of the IVRCC once the new organization has been formed.

According to the press release, Sohn has been a hands-on advocate for a long list of issues including support for small business, responsible development, governmental transparency, equal rights, children’s mental health, and the environment. Since 2016, Sohn has served as managing partner for the Floridian Group — a Florida-based consulting firm specializing in government relations, advocacy, community affairs, policy development, grant management, and government procurement.

Prior to founding the Floridian Group, Sohn served as the legislative aide and chief of staff for several Florida State representatives and senators. His legislative work led to his hiring as the director of Grants and Partnerships for Farm Share, Inc. Farm Share's mission since 1991 has been to recover the 40 percent of Florida crop that goes unused annually to give at no cost to the most vulnerable in the State of Florida.

Other past roles include his four years as the chief executive officer at the South Florida Non-Profit Chamber of Commerce and his six years of service as county chairman at Democracy for America of Broward County — a chapter of the largest Progressive Super PAC in the Nation founded by Former Vermont Governor Howard Dean.

In March of 2014, Sohn was named interim executive director of the Council of Environmental and Conservation Organizations (ECO Council) founded by Orange County Conservation Supervisor Daisy Morales. Sohn served in this capacity until joining the Office of Palm Beach Soil and Water Conservation Commissioner Patricia “Pat” Edmonson in January 2017 as her District Aide.

In March 2018, Sohn ran for a seat on the Haverhill, FL Town Council and made history when he was elected with over 60 percent of the vote. Sohn and his husband Kai will relocate to Southern California in March 2021 with their five dogs, Sammy, GG, Lukas, Charlene, and Gillian.

“The hiring of the IVRCC CEO is a pivotal step in finalizing the chamber merge,” said Bari Smith. “Daniel has tremendous experience, passion, and skillsets to offer our business community. As an Executive Board, we look forward to his leadership, legislate experience, and positive personality being a catalyst for business growth, advocacy, and success in the new Regional Chamber of Commerce.”

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