Chamber overhauls from the top down

POULSBO — A new executive director is right around the corner for the Greater Poulsbo Chamber of Commerce.

And that’s just the beginning.

The chamber board has big plans in the works for the entire chamber structure, which it plans to discuss with membership at next week’s luncheon.

“This is an exciting time, a great time, for the chamber,” Chamber President Brad Camp said this week. “The entire board is energized.”

First and foremost in the changes will be the hiring of a new executive director, which board members hope will take place before the end of 2003. Chamber board member Gary Hoskins’ three-month interim position as executive director ended Oct. 31. Hoskins took a leave of absence from the board in August to fill the full-time position and has now returned to his board seat, which is up in 2004.

Hoskins was appointed interim executive director after former Chamber Director Robert Ford announced his resignation in July. Ford’s last day was Aug. 1.

Camp said at the time of Ford’s resignation, board members preferred having a short-term interim director to allow them to reorganize the chamber.

In July, the board was just beginning to digest an audit that was undertaken following an April fine the chamber received from the Internal Revenue Service for past-due tax payments. That audit was conducted by an outside Certified Public Accountant the chamber board hired and indicated some key changes that might make the organization stronger.

For instance, previously the chamber had one full-time paid executive director, who was responsible for all operations within the business organization. That position was supported by a group of volunteers. Now, those duties will be split between a full-time director and a half-time administrative assistant.

Roxie Watson was recently hired as the chamber’s first paid administrative assistant. Her first day on the job was Nov. 6. Watson will be responsible for things like day-to-day operations and records management.

Camp said the chamber plans to advertise for a new executive director within the next week or so. That position will be responsible for things like membership recruitment and retention, events and activities and fund-raising.

“We think that will work very well,” Camp commented. “I know from me personally, I do all my own administration and it’s tough to keep up with it all.”

In the interim, Pearce Dressel is continuing as membership and development manager on a volunteer basis. Once a new executive director is on board, Dressel’s duties will be absorbed into that position.

“But until then, he continues to be the primary point person for the membership,” Camp said.

Kevin Hogan of Liberty Bay Auto will be the incoming chamber president on Jan. 1, 2004. Hogan will also be working with Dressel on membership issues until the new executive director is hired.

The next chamber luncheon begins at 11:30 a.m. Nov. 13 at the Bayside Broiler and will feature chamber board members discussing other changes with membership. For more information, or to RSVP for that luncheon, call (360) 779-4999.

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