History Of The Chamber


On August 21, 1906, the City of Newport Beach had its beginnings when the three small communities of Newport, East Newport, and Balboa voted to incorporate as the City of Newport Beach. Everyone agreed that the principal asset was the underdeveloped Newport Bay. Knowing of Newport’s former days as a shipping port, they began to think about the commercial possibilities of the harbor.

On March 12, 1907, sixteen men calling themselves the “Harbor Boosters” established the Newport Beach Chamber of Commerce. Each man contributed five dollars to cover the initial expenses of the first commercial body formed in the city.

When the final reclamation of the bay was complete thirty years later in 1936 nearly all of the founding members were gone, but many of them devoted their lives to the creation of Newport Harbor. Through its life, the Newport Beach Chamber of Commerce has played an active part in fostering the various improvement measures, which have contributed to the harbor community of today. Not only did it concern itself with the harbor, industrial and municipal matters, but it also initiated and sponsored the various celebrations and civic events of diverse kinds which are essential to the social fabric of our community.

For a period of eight years, from 1919 to 1927, there existed two chambers, Balboa and Newport Beach. In 1927, the chambers merged into the Newport Harbor Chamber of Commerce. The city was divided into six districts, each of which was entitled to two directors on the board of twelve. These sections were: 1) Newport Heights and West Newport, 2) Newport Beach, 3) East Newport, 4) Balboa, 5) Balboa Island, and 6) Corona del Mar.

As the city grew, so did the Chamber of Commerce. In 1976, the word “area” was added to the name to better reflect the character of the surrounding communities, which composed the membership. In the same year, the Newport Harbor Area Chamber of Commerce reached a significant milestone when it moved into its new headquarters building of 10,000 square feet at 1470 Jamboree Road. Today, the Chamber is located in its present location at 4343 Von Karman Ave., Ste. 150.

In 2001 the Chamber’s official name was changed to the Newport Beach Chamber of Commerce to better reflect the marketability of the Newport Beach name for its members. Today, the Newport Beach Chamber, which started modestly with only 16 Charter members, has grown to over 700 members, representing a cross-section of the harbor area, and is one of the largest regional Chambers in Orange County. However numbers alone cannot measure the success of the Chamber. It is the quality and dedication of the individual members who, working together as a team, make major contributions- not only to preserve and advance the free enterprise system, but also to improve the quality of life in the community.


2023-24 Andrew Smith

2022-23 Chris Delfs

2021-22 Kimberly Tavares

2020-21 Debra Van Der Weide

2019-20 Debra Van Der Weide

2018-19 Sam El-Rabaa

2017-18 Craig Batley

2016-17 Joe DuBois

2015-16 Marie Case

2014-15 Joe Stapleton

2013-14 Joe Stapleton

2012-13 Don Lawrenz

2011-12 Chandler Bell

2010-11 Jim Walker

2009-10 Paul Watkins

2008 Laurel Zaeske

2007 Paul King

2006 Joe DuBois

2005 Dorothy Larson

2004 Clayton Shurley

2003 Philip Bettencourt

2002 Roger Alford

2001 Joe Parker

2000 Lula Halfacre

1999 Bob Black

1998 Dan Marcheano

1997 Rush Hill

1996 Rush Hill

1995 Mike Stanko

1994 Dennis O’Neil

1993 David Carmichael

1992 Michael Stephens

1989 Phillip Glasgow

1988 Tom Wilck

1987 Ted Fuller/Bill Bell

1986 Bill Hamilton

1985 Ralph Rodheim

1984 Jim Dale

1983 Carol South

1982 Carol South

1981 Michael Gering

1980 Richard Spooner

1979 Gordon West

1978 Rudy Baron

1977 Dennis Harwood

1976 James Parker

1975 William Lusk

1974 William Lusk

1973 Richard Stevens

1972 Robert McCurdy

1971 William Ring

1970 Charles Currey

1969 Richard Stevens

1968 Leon Meeks

1967 John Mac Nab

1966 Jim Berkshire

1965 Ed Hirth

1964 John Vibert

1963 Burdett Harrison/Fred Schoepe

1962 Theodore Robins

1961 O. W. Dick Richard