WHY YOU NEED TO KNOW HIM: When Dale Petroskey was leaving National Geographic to take the helm of the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1999, his boss, CEO John Fahey, gave him some advice: “You are never going to have a fresher set of eyes than what you’ll have in your first six months. Use them wisely. Observe, meet people and listen to them, figure out patterns, then build from that foundation.” That strategy paid off in Cooperstown, New York, Petroskey says—and he intends to follow the same advice in his new role as president and CEO of the Dallas Regional Chamber.

A former marketing executive for the Texas Rangers, Petroskey also served as assistant press secretary under President Ronald Reagan. He says his myriad career posts will help him in his new role: “The more experiences you have, the more vantage points you can use to look at a situation.”

The new chief says he was attracted to the opportunity because it offered the chance to return to “the hottest economy in the country,” and to work with “optimistic, forward-thinking, can-do business leaders” on important issues. Along with attracting new companies—like Toyota, which announced its headquarters relocation to North Texas about a month after Petroskey joined the DRC—Petroskey intends to focus on growing the chamber’s membership, education initiatives, and the infrastructure (roads, bridges, and water supply) that can help handle the region’s burgeoning population. “We have to make sure policymakers understand those needs,” he says. “If we don’t we’re going to spoil our quality of life and stunt our growth in the future.”

Early on in his career, Petroskey read a quote from Theodore Roosevelt: “Far and away the best prize that life offers is the chance to work hard at work worth doing.” His new position at the chamber gives him the opportunity to do just that, he says: “Everything we do here every day affects millions of lives. The chamber is the ultimate work worth doing.”