January 3 2015

Jim Murphy Leaving BACC for Regional Post

By: Rich Hosford

Jim Murphy, President of the Burlington Area Chamber of Commerce’s (BACC) Charitable Foundation and former chamber president, is leaving to become president of the North Suburban Chamber of Commerce in Woburn. 

The North Suburban Chamber is a 13-town chamber supporting members, the different communities and the region by promoting growth, visibility and economic development, according to its website. Burlington is among the towns in the chamber, as are Bedford, Billerica, Carlisle, Concord, Lexington, Lincoln, North Reading, Reading, Stoneham, Wakefield, Wilmington, and Woburn as well as Hanscom Air Force Base.

Murphy became president of the BACC in 2008 after a decade in the senior living industry, including two years running his own consulting company. He enjoyed owning his own business, he said, but wanted a change and when the opportunity to apply at the chamber came up he jumped on it. 

He started in September of that year, only a week before the first Taste of Burlington, a big event that highlights area restaurants and has become one of the chamber’s premier events of the year. 

“I jumped right into the deep end,” he said. 

Murphy said when he took the helm of the BACC, Burlington was in the midst of big economic growth that has continued to this day. He said the town’s growth, spurred by good planning by leader’s such as former town administrator Bob Mercier along with town departments, allowed Burlington to not only whether the economic downturn in 2008 but to continue a vibrant commercial and retail development.

“When I came in it was just preceding our most significant recession in decades,” he said. “What struck me was that working in Burlington onehad no sense that we were in a country facing a significant economic downturn. No development stopped, the school department started the 1:1 technology program. No surcharges added at the town level. It really spoke to the economic strength and economically smart planning of Burlington.”

Murphy said one accomplishment he is proud of that has helped Burlington’s recent growth, particularly the restaurant sector, is the BACC’s help in getting state approval for eight additional liquor licenses. These licenses were used to support development at New England Executive Park (The District) and provide the Burlington Mall options for recruitment of restaurants in the future. He said getting that approval was a long road and took convincing both the state agency and Town Meeting. 

“It was a year-long process that had a lot of stakeholders,” he said. 

Other accomplishments he is proud of include the BACC working with the Conservation Commission to refine the wetland bylaw and wetland bylaw regulations in a way that he says benefited both residents and businesses, working with municipal leaders and state agencies to improve traffic and public transportation in town and the creation of the charitable foundation. That last entity spearheaded the Community Garden that has seen a lot of success the last couple year and involved many people, including town leaders, residents, school children and members of the business community. 

“The charitable foundation is something I’m proud of,” Murphy said, “and what we’ve been able to do with the community garden. It brought a wide spectrum of people to volunteer and help out.”

Here at BCAT, Murphy has a long-running show called Chamber Chat that has logged nearly 60 episodes. In it he would speak to local business leaders, town leaders, people involved in charitable organizations and others on a wide range of topics with a focus on business. 

 “One pure enjoyment has been working on Chamber Chat and all you folks at BCAT,” he said. 

Finally, Murphy said what he enjoyed the most is being in the Burlington community. And though he will still be working with the town in his new role, he said he’ll miss being here on a daily basis. 

“I think the key thing I’ll miss will be my relationships with all the folks in Burlington I see every day,” he said. “I won’t have that and I’ll miss them terribly. I’ll miss grabbing a coffee at True North, being directly involved in so many activities the BACC does. That’s a sad part.” 

Current BACC president Rick Parker said he wanted to acknowledge all the things Murphy accomplished in the chamber and said he looks forward to working with him as he transitions to his new role. 

“Jim has been instrumental in bringing the Burlington Area Chamber of Commerce to its current status and we owe him a great deal of gratitude,” he said. “His professionalism and knowledge of the issues concerning the business community will be greatly missed.  Jim has been a respected mentor to me and I look forward to a continued partnership, aimed at keeping our region at the forefront of economic development.  On behalf of the Chamber, our members and the Greater-Burlington community, we wish Jim all the best in his new role.”

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