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Poulsbo Chamber director plans to step down

POULSBO — An integral piece of Little Norway is about to head to Big Sky Country in the form of Greater Poulsbo Chamber of Commerce executive director Stuart Leidner, who will join his family in moving to Montana in the coming months. Leidner announced his resignation from the chamber Friday, and its board of directors was quick to thank him for the positive work he’s accomplished.

“I’ve been very pleased with Stuart’s leadership, especially with city committees and the business community,” said chamber board president Donna Etchey. “He’s done a great job.”

Etchey, who also serves as publisher for the North Kitsap Herald, said Leidner’s work launching the business fair and partnering the Historic Downtown Poulsbo Association and Kitsap Visitors Convention Bureau for tourism has pointed the organization in a healthy direction.

Leidner took the role with the chamber in March 2005, and also worked with the city centennial planning committee, signage committee and served as an advocate for chamber business members to the city council during his time in Poulsbo.

“The board of directors will surely miss Stuart and the excellent work that he has done,” Etchey said.

Leidner’s wife, Nina, has accepted the director of programs position with the Sonoran Institute in Bozeman, Mont. There, Leidner said he’ll seek work in the non-profit field, though initially he may enjoy just being a fisherman.

“There are worse places to be unemployed,” he joked.

Working to achieve goals on behalf of members was one of the things Leidner said the chamber was able to achieve during his time there, and he credited its success to the strength of the board.

“It’s been a real plus to be able to work with this organization,” he said. “It’s a strong team all the way around.”

Leidner said the directors and volunteers he’s served with during his service have brought ease to the job he’s done, and he knows he’s leaving things in capable hands. Although he’s sorry to be leaving Poulsbo, Leidner is excited for the adventures that await him in the Treasure State.

“This allows us to go explore a new region,” he said.

Leidner will remain at the chamber until a replacement is found, though he joked he’d like to get on the road to Montana before it’s covered with three feet of snow.

“Stuart is committed to making this a smooth transition for the incoming director and for the chamber,” Etchey said. “He’s more than willing to stay on and train his replacement.”

Etchey said the search for a new executive director has begun, and hopes a final decision is made by Nov. 1.

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