Ken Oplinger currently serves as the President/CEO of the Bellingham/Whatcom Chamber of Commerce & Industry, where he has been since October 2003. He has been leading Chambers of Commerce in the Western US for over 18 years, 10 of those years in California.
Ken is a graduate of Willamette University in Salem, Oregon, where he received a BA in Political Science and Spanish. Ken is also a graduate of the Institute for Organizational Management at UCLA. He is a Past President of SUPERCHEX, the Chamber Executives organization representing Northern California Chamber Executives and served as the Chairman of the Board of WACE, the Western Association of Chamber Executives, in 2006. Ken is an Accredited Chamber Executive, having received his accreditation in February 2003 from WACE, and was reaccredited in 2008. Ken’s leadership on the BESTT Coalition (Business for Economic Security, Tourism and Trade), a bi-national coalition of business and industry concerned about the affects of implementing the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI) on the Canada/US Border, led to the creation of the Enhanced Drivers License program.
As the President of the Bellingham/Whatcom Chamber of Commerce & Industry, Ken serves as the Chief Executive Officer for a Chamber with a membership of some 800, representing over 200,000 people across Whatcom County, Washington. The Bellingham/Whatcom Chamber of Commerce & Industry is the regional leader in creating a strong local economy, promoting the community, providing networking opportunities and representing the interests of business with government.
Originally from Tempe, Arizona, Ken and his wife Diana (of Richmond, BC) live in Blaine, Washington with their daughter, Rachel. Ken served on the Planning Commission for the City of Blaine for six years, three as the chair, and currently serves on the Blaine City Council. He has served on the Board of Directors for the White Rock/South Surrey Jewish Community Centre in Surrey, and serves on the Advisory Board for the Blaine Branch of the Boys and Girls Club of Whatcom County, in addition to numerous other volunteer activities. In December 2010, Ken was proud to receive the Daryl McClelland Humanitarian Award for Outstanding Community Service from the Building Industry Association of Whatcom County.
In his spare time, Ken has been active in political campaigns throughout the west coast, and has worked to forge consensus on issues ranging from regional transportation spending to community development to capital projects for school districts. He also works with other Chambers of Commerce around the West Coast on long range planning for their organizations. He enjoys traveling, local community events, and has all but given up breaking his average round of 110 on the golf course.