Jeff Rea Bio
President and CEO
South Bend Regional Chamber
Jeff Rea, CCE, IOM, is the current president and CEO of the South Bend Regional Chamber of Commerce, a role that he has held since September 2010. In his position, Rea represents the interests of more than 1,000 member businesses that employ over 60,000 people in the region. Rea guides the Chamber efforts in their three strategic areas of focus: economic development, public policy/advocacy and destination marketing. Under his leadership, the Chamber has been recognized as the Indiana Chamber of the Year, was a two-time runner-up for National Chamber of the Year, and has achieved 5-Star accreditation from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, an honor achieved by only 105 of the 7,022 chambers of commerce in the country.
Rea is a frequent speaker, trainer, facilitator and commentator. He is the host of WNIT Television’s Economic Outlook show, a weekly program that explores the stories, companies and people helping to drive the regional economy, and is a columnist in the business section of the South Bend Tribune.
Prior to coming to the Chamber, Rea served as mayor of the City of Mishawaka, Indiana for 6-1/2 years. During his time as mayor, Rea guided Mishawaka to record economic growth, all while reducing the size of the city budget and the number of city employees. His focus on the efficiency of operations, process improvement and elimination of waste put the city in a strong financial position during difficult economic times. Prior to his time as mayor, Rea served as economic development director and city planner for Mishawaka, working to create the right environment for private investment and growth through a business-friendly approach.
Rea comes from a family of small business owners, owning the Tribe-O-Rea Drug Store in Mishawaka (53 years) and the Cumberland Pharmacy in Bourbon, Indiana (55 years). It is there where Rea learned at a very young age the value of small business and its importance to the success of the local economy.