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Chamber president Matt Crosson dies

Though Matt Crosson died Thursday at 61 — just nine months after taking over as president and CEO of the Las Vegas Chamber of Commerce — associates say he still managed to make a difference in the area’s business community.

His vision and leadership led to the chamber’s recent distribution of 250,000 Chamber Membership Rewards Cards to encourage the support of local businesses, according to Kristin McMillan, chairman of the Chamber’s Board of Trustees.

She also noted that he spearheaded the successful “Viva Las Business” campaign.

“He was committed to finding ways for the chamber to help businesses and the community recover from the devastating economy,” McMillan said.

Phil Carlino, owner of Fremont Coin Corp., said Crosson’s vigorous advocacy on behalf of the business community will be missed.

“He was exemplary in the job he did for the chamber,” Carlino said.

According to Cara Roberts, a spokeswoman for the chamber, Crosson reported feeling unwell in September and doctors determined he needed open-heart surgery.

Following the surgery, Crosson suffered a stroke.

Though the cause of death is unknown at this time, Roberts said doctors believe Crosson died in MountainView Hospital of complications from the stroke.

Crosson came to the chamber from New York’s Long Island Association, a business group with more than 5,000 members. He had been president and chief executive officer of the association since 1993.

As head of the New York business association, he brought luminaries, including former Presidents George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush, and former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, to lunches and meetings.

In New York, Crosson’s wife, Elaine, was vice president for legal affairs and general counsel for Long Island University. In addition to his wife, Crosson is survived by their 12-year-old son, Daniel.

In his blog as head of the Las Vegas chamber, Crosson came across as enthusiastic about business in the Las Vegas Valley.

In May, he wrote:

“One of the things that strikes me about the uniqueness of Las Vegas is its inherent creativity. Las Vegas has always been a place where people think outside of the box. Certainly, it took imagination to see that Las Vegas could become the adult playground in the middle of the desert. And it continues to require inventive thinking to keep this city fresh, continuously embracing change and innovation.”

Crosson joined the chamber as it prepared for the 2011 legislative session that could mean new taxes on business. The group has been a key opponent to new levies and its leaders have long argued for reform in public-sector pay and benefits, which often outpace overall compensation in the private sector.

Funeral services are not set at this time, but Roberts said it is likely that memorial services will be held in both Las Vegas and Long Island.

Contact Paul Harasim at pharasim@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-2908.

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