BSBA Marketing 2006
business development manager, Billings Chamber of Commerce
Last summer, the Billings Chamber of Commerce won the equivalent of the Super Bowl when it was named Chamber of the Year. Billings was among five award winners recognized by the Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives.
Kevin Cremer, the Billings Chamber’s business development manager, was among the staff members and board members who attended the festivities in Montreal.
While it was a bit of an adventure for the Montana contingent to navigate French-speaking Montreal, the trip was a thrill, Cremer said.
The Billings Chamber has 1,178 members in a community with more than 7,350 businesses. Its total revenue, including tourism-related funds, is $3.1 million.
The Chamber's membership has shown some impressive growth. From the 2013-14 fiscal year to the 2014-15 fiscal year, the number of new members increased 20 percent, while new-member revenue increased 50 percent.
Cremer has a background in construction and even built his first home from the ground up. In college, he showed a knack for sales and marketing.
“After graduating from Montana State University Billings, I found that I enjoyed working with people and that I had a knack for sales. I was very determined to succeed in the Billings business community, and after successful jobs in marketing and advertising, I was offered the specialty leasing manager position at Rimrock Mall. In this position, I worked with hundreds of retail businesses on their leases, advertising, and sponsorships.
“I enjoyed building my specialty leasing program with co-tenancy and leasing space to the right businesses, selling the right products that would help the mall thrive. It was a great feeling to work with business owners and help grow their business from a kiosk into an in-line store with the goal of signing a permanent lease. Over the course of my two years at Rimrock Mall, the Specialty Leasing program generated record high revenue and occupancy.
In September of 2014, I jumped at the employment opportunity with the Billings Chamber of Commerce to be a part of Billings’ thriving business community in the city that I love. It is a fantastic feeling to wake up every morning excited to go to work and meet with a variety of different business to help them build relationships with other members, grow their visibility in the community, and help them to meet their goals.
What’s the biggest challenge you face in your job? I want to help everyone maximize their Chamber membership and member experience, but often I feel that I am being pulled in multiple directions. Ideally, I work to be fully focused on the individual and their business that I am working with in that specific moment, although connecting them with other Chamber member companies is my goal. Often, I struggle with needing or wanting to helpful to everyone all at once.
What’s the best business advice you have received? If you truly want to treat your customer as a king, you must first treat your associates/co-workers as royalty.
Who gave you that advice? My father, Chuck Cremer.
Here’s what I’d like to do to improve my community: I want to be a facilitator of a collaborative business climate in Billings. I would like to see local business professionals collaborating with the goal of a thriving local business environment. I want to be a key element in turning the dial within our community and trade area.
Outside of work, my biggest passion is: To be a great father and husband as my wife and son are the two most important people in my life.
Which living person do you most admire? My wife, Theresa, as she is an amazing mother to our son, while also being a very successful business woman.
Aside from profit and loss, how do you measure success in your job? In business, all that you have is your name and reputation. If either of those is tarnished, they are tarnished forever. With that being said, the perception that business professionals have of me throughout our community is a measure that you cannot see on a balance sheet, but is real and important. The relationships built in our community are what will drive growth and success for years to come.
What do you consider your greatest achievement? Personally, being a father is the greatest responsibility and achievement in my life. Professionally, being part of the Billings Chamber team that was awarded the 2015 ACCE Chamber of the Year is my greatest achievement.
I’m happiest when I’m… attending University of Montana Grizzly football games with friends and family as we are a family of strong traditions.
»» Find out how a bachelor's in business can help your career flourish.
Article & Photo credits: Billings Gazette