Ascension Chamber names Barker Dirmann as president, CEO

The Advocate

The Ascension Chamber of Commerce has named Barker Dirmann as its president and chief executive officer.

Dirmann was manager of governmental affairs and special projects for the Baton Rouge Area Chamber since September 2016. He is a Louisiana native with business and governmental experience, having worked several years for the Office of the Governor.

Dirmann will begin his new job on March 12. He succeeds Sherrie Despino, who retired last year.

The Ascension Chamber’s board of directors recently voted to approve Dirmann for the position after a search committee that reported to the executive committee conducted a nationwide search.

“I am honored to join the Ascension Chamber of Commerce,” Dirmann said. “The chamber’s work is vital to the region’s business community and I look forward to working with the chamber’s board, volunteers and staff to grow the organization and to promote the interest and ensure the livelihood of local businesses.”

Dirmann will be responsible for leading the strategic mission and vision of the organization, which includes collaborating closely with community business leaders as well as government entities to find solutions for the parish’s growth.

Before joining BRAC, Dirmann served as director of intergovernmental affairs for the Office of the Governor, where he was responsible for working with local elected officials throughout the state on matters ranging from local issues and legislation to disaster preparation and response. Previously, he served as director of boards and commissions, where he was responsible for all gubernatorial appointments to more than 300 state boards and commissions. He also served as special assistant to the secretary of the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals and as a team lead within the state’s Office of Community Development. Within the private sector, Dirmann worked in constituent services for the former Shaw Group, where he worked with state and federal elected officials.

Dirmann holds a bachelor of science from LSU and earned a juris doctor from Southern University Law Center.

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