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About Us


Our Story

October of 1986, my first day of “real” work.
The Illinois State Chamber of Commerce was where we went. Dick Apland, my dad, ran the for-profit (gasp!) side of the Chamber – the Center for Business Management. My first for-profit assignment was to become certified to teach the National Safety Council Defensive Driver Course so I could help employers save on insurance premiums. Not very for-profit.
Assignment #2 was a nascent library (three books) on labor law which translated legalese to plain English and would form the basis of the next 37 years.
37 years that included:

  • working with/for every State Chamber in the country, alongside my brother, two sisters, nieces, nephews and in-laws and an extended family who worked with us, not for us
  • hundreds and hundreds of attorneys at more than 50 law firms
  • three websites (,,
  • four recessions – Gulf War, Dot-com, The Great and COVID-19
  • a workforce that once was just outside my office door but now spread across the country, literally from New York City to San Francisco.

Thank you for taking the time to check out who we are and what we are about – and for those of you who have ever subscribed or purchased anything from any of our company iterations, thanks for being a part of our hr|simple family.

Bradley J. Apland

Meet Our Team

Bradley J. Apland

Since 1963 and the Harlan (Iowa) Chamber of Commerce, I have been part of a Chamber family. Raised and mentored by Dick Apland, the Johnny Appleseed of Chamber affinity programs, my last 37 years have been spent working with and for, at one time

Scarlett Cmiel

Vice President & Managing Editor
Hello! I got involved with publishing and editing HR manuals in the early 90s while on staff at the Indiana Chamber of Commerce. Due to requests from member companies, the Chamber published eight books within three years to assist the business

Amy Tripp

Director of Marketing & Events
My story starts in the picturesque town of Mystic, Connecticut, where I spent my formative years. In 2006, with just two suitcases and a sense of adventure, I made the bold decision to relocate to Chicago, a city I had only visited once before. Fast

Mimi Leon

Web Developer
Growing up in Salinas, CA, an agricultural city near the heart of Silicon Valley, shaped my interests. The environment piqued my passions for drawing, nature, and technology.  California State University, Monterey Bay’s Computer Science B.S.
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