In memory of Craig Whitney
In memory of Craig Whitney
In place of a message from the president this month, we are going to remember our visionary and fearless leader with this tribute to the man who led our organization for the past 10 years.
On December 14, Chamber president and CEO Craig Whitney, passed away from complications with cancer. He has left behind a legacy after a professional journey that took him from the White House to corporate America to the Olympic Games.
Prior to The Chamber, Craig served as chief of staff to the chairman of Cerberus Capital Management, former vice president Dan Quayle, in Phoenix, Arizona. In 1989, he joined the White House staff, serving through the entire Bush-Quayle administration and rose to the position of Assistant to the Vice President and Director of Advance. In that role, he coordinated all domestic and international events for the Vice President, eventually traveling more than a half million miles aboard Air Force Two.
From there, Craig went on to a series of executive responsibilities in the private sector – serving as director of guest services and special events for the Atlanta Olympic Committee, and vice president of external affairs for the widely respected Hudson Institute in Indianapolis.
Craig’s impact here has been nothing short of incredible. Voices of Vision began from Craig’s own vision for bringing top national speakers to our region to talk about leadership and business. He played a major role in the creation of Fueling Our Future, a current region-wide initiative set out to support economic development and prosperity for Fargo Moorhead West Fargo and ensure our competitiveness and future success.
Craig cared deeply for his country and our community. Ever the patriot, his dedication to honoring members of military was unmatched. He can be credited with the creation of our Military Affairs committee and Air National Guard Support Group, and has been a tireless advocate for the Happy Hooligans. He has also been a key leading voice in issues as permanent flood protection for the region. His expertise in public policy has resulted in the largest and most active committee, successful Eggs & Issues event series, and a rich policy program.
Craig had a way of treating every individual with compassion and sincerity. He held every relationship in high regard, from his family and friends, to colleagues, business associates and acquaintances. Those close to him remember his big heart and ability to inspire.
He respected everyone on all sides of big issues and took the time to understand the big picture. His leadership can be described as bold, strategic, visionary and tenacious. He was passionate about evolving to meet the needs of today and driving new ideas and initiative with passion.
There was also a very fun-loving side to Craig that not everyone got to see. Craig absolutely loved Christmas, even having a countdown to the big day on his phone. He frequently could be found inspiring his staff by playing Lee Greenwood throughout the hallway and causing gentle mischief with his sincere chuckle and smirk. Craig loved supporting the Bison, attending most all games, tailgating, and traveling to Frisco to watch the team play.
He has left a positive influence and lasting legacy on not just Fargo Moorhead West Fargo, but in every stop throughout his journey. He will be missed by many.
- Obituary and memorial service video: West Funeral Home
- Area Chamber CEO Craig Whitney dies
- Letter: Craig Whitney was a true champion of Fargo-Moorhead
- KFGO News & View with Joel Heitkamp podcast: Tom Dawson Remembers Craig Whitney
Messages and stories from those who knew and worked with Craig:
"I’m going to miss your random texts, asking about my Taco dog, yelling “Mec” from your office. (You loved to give out nicknames.) You had a love for Christmas like no one else. I don’t know anyone else who had an app with a countdown of how many days left until the big day like you. :) I’ll never forget witnessing you steal a Christmas bulb off the tree at The Chamber and you saying to me, “you saw nothing, Mec.” With that smirk on your face we all know and love. You took the staff Secret Santa Gift Exchange to a whole new level. When my mom was sick and was in and out of the hospital you said, “You go, family first.” Then you constantly texted me checking in the way only you can. “Update, how u?” When she passed away I was able to take the time away from work that I needed to heal and I’ll never forget you for that. It meant the world to me. Craig, my mom used to say people were “one in a million.” When she really thought they were something. Well Craig, “You were one million to me. Thanks for everything.” -Tracy Meckler, Chamber Membership & Advertising Sales Manager
If you wish to share a memory of Craig to be included in this blog post, please email it to firstname.lastname@example.org.