Chamber hires two new vice presidents


Published: Wednesday, April 10, 2013 at 5:24 p.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, April 10, 2013 at 5:24 p.m.

The Gainesville Area Chamber of Commerce has hired a former diplomat to China and a former chief of staff for the mayor of Birmingham, Ala., to fill key positions.

Kamal Latham started Monday as vice president of public policy to lead the Chamber's efforts advocating for the business community and working with city, county, regional and state governments.

Latham served as a diplomat for the U.S. Department of State under Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush, working on economic affairs from the embassy in Beijing. He received a Meritorious Honor Award for his work negotiating air services rights credited with generating $5 billion in new business for U.S. air carriers over five years, according to a news release from the Chamber.

Latham is also president of Diplomatic Treatment Corporate Consulting specializing in business development in China. He has a master's in public policy from Harvard University and a bachelor of arts in political science and history from Temple University.

He and wife, Jonnel, have two children.

Latham takes the job last held by Ife Goodson.

Deborah Bowie, 43, starts Monday as vice president of Chamber development, which includes managing staff and providing resources to help members and other local businesses.

She replaces Sonia Douglas, who resigned in January for a career move.

Bowie, a Miami native, comes to Gainesville from Albany, Ga., where she served as senior director of public policy and communications with the Albany Area Chamber of Commerce.

Before that, she served as chief of staff for the mayor of Birmingham and vice president of community development for the Birmingham Regional Chamber of Commerce.

She has a bachelor's in communications from Xavier University of Louisiana.

Bowie and her husband have four children, including 4-year-old triplets.

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