Dave Bernd, recently named Director of Commercial Development for the Covington/Newton County Chamber of Commerce, has a wide variety of business experience, including co-owning a Christmas and outfitter shop with his wife and participating in community development — including commercial development — in the U.S. and overseas.
The bulk of his career has been spent with Kimberly-Clark. He was one of three people to invent and create the prototype for the machine that makes Huggies diapers — 138 of the machines were built across 34 countries.
Bernd worked his way up the corporate ladder from machine operator to plant manager and research director, all the way to director of manufacturing. He worked for years as a “turnaround specialist,” helping struggling plants improve operations and increase production.
Covington/Newton Chamber President Hunter Hall said Bernd’s wealth of experience made him a perfect fit to join the chamber’s Office of Economic Development, because he has worked in retail and in industry.
Bernd led some of Kimberly-Clark’s expansion efforts, so he’s intimately familiar with the site selection process, which is at the forefront of many communities’ efforts to recruit new industries.
Courtney Bernardi, senior vice president of economic development, is the lead industrial recruiter. But she also has experience dealing with retail recruitment, so the two can work together on projects. Bernd will also be able to aid James Johnson, the chamber’s director of existing industry and workforce development.
“He’s a perfect fit for what is already going on at the chamber,” Hall said.
Bernd doesn’t just know the recruitment side; he also understands small business operations, having co-owned Country Greetings, a gift shop and outdoor apparel store in Wisconsin. He handled finances and human resources for the store, but also worked as a salesman on weekends and at festivals.
Finally, in the city of Neenah, Wis., where Kimberly-Clark was founded, Bernd served on the board of Future Neenah, which is equivalent to a chamber of commerce. On the board, he oversaw the development of the city’s downtown, including facilitating the move of some corporate offices to Neenah’s downtown area, which transformed the downtown retail district.
He also worked overseas on community development in Bogota, Colombia, and Cordoba, Argentina, while working for Kimberly-Clark in those cities.