Chris Kay is president of the Greater Stockton Chamber of Commerce. (Photo by Terence Duffy)

Emerging Leaders: Chris Kay

We honor 10 young professionals who have made a difference during the COVID-19 pandemic

Back Article Jul 6, 2020 By Ben Sanchez

Chris Kay

President, Greater Stockton Chamber of Commerce

This story is part of our July 2020 issue. To subscribe, click here.

Chris Kay is a busy guy. He’s a marketing executive, owner of an imported-foods business and, as of July 1, president of the Greater Stockton Chamber of Commerce.

Kay, 36, who leads marketing and business development for Siegfried Engineering, an engineering firm in Stockton, has been a chamber board member since 2014, helping advocate for the Stockton business community. When the coronavirus pandemic hit, the chamber created a page on its website dedicated to information for its members, including links to webcasts and podcasts, plus guidance and resources for reopening businesses in a safe and responsible way. “The organization actively becomes a voice for our business community,” Kay says. “Our chamber team is providing small business resources in order to be safe and clean to the public.”

See the full list of Young Professionals honorees here

Kay, who was born in Stockton and earned his bachelor’s degree in communication from the University of the Pacific in 2010, has also worked as the marketing manager for the Downtown Stockton Alliance, the director of sales and marketing for SMG Stockton (which then managed five city-owned venues, including the Stockton Arena), and manager of marketing and outreach for the San Joaquin Regional Rail Commission before joining Siegfried last year. 

“Take more risks. If there is something you want to do, go for it. Fail a ton — you’ll learn a lot. Failure helps you build character.”

Kay, along with his wife, Kristen Anema Kay, also are giving back to the community through their family business, Carter Imports, which imports extra virgin olive oil and honey. Kay says the business has donated 300 bottles of olive oil to food banks in Stockton, assisting more than 150 families during the pandemic. He also donated $1 of every bottle of olive oil sold in May to St. Mary’s Dining Room, a nonprofit serving people who are dealing with poverty, homelessness and food insecurity by providing meals and medical, dental and mental health services.

Kay, who spent a year living in Greece with his family as a child, started Carter Imports last year after Kay, his wife and daughter Kenley, 4, (they also have a 9-month-old son) had taken several trips to Greece, his parents’ home country, and Italy. “It’s the most rewarding thing I’ve done,” Kay says of Carter Imports, which he and his wife named to honor a pregnancy loss in August 2017. “I turned nothing into something. My focus at this time is working with St. Mary’s Dining Room on a donation drive to help those families in need.”

Before the pandemic, Kay found ways to participate in the business community by serving as a board member of the San Joaquin County Economic Development Association since 2013, and he served from 2012 to 2018 as a board member for Leadership Stockton Alumni Association. 

“Stockton is full of good hardworking people,” Kays says. “It’s a place I’m proud to call home.”

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Douglass Wilhoit (not verified)July 6, 2020 - 7:18pm


Kay Ruhstaller (not verified)July 27, 2020 - 2:33pm

Chris-Congratulations on being named an emerging leader by Comstock and all my best for your year as President of the GSCC. You have my complete support. KR

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