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Leidner comes home to chamber

POULSBO — Last year, the Greater Poulsbo Chamber of Commerce found its new executive director just down the road.

While his replacement may have a little farther to come to take the position, he said his heart was definitely in Little Norway all along.

The chamber board announced this week that Stuart Leidner of Sonoita, Ariz. has been chosen as the new executive director of the Poulsbo Chamber. He will officially take over the position March 28.

The new executive director will take over for former director Jim Martin, who was asked by the chamber board to step down in December 2004. Martin had served in the position for about nine months following a seven-month search for a full-time director.

Leidner is currently the executive director of a non-profit Southeast Arizona Land Trust working on land conservation with property owners. But he previously lived and worked in Washington and has family in the Poulsbo area that he’s traveled to visit for the last 20 years. He said he had been interested in moving back to Washington and also continuing work with non-profits so when an acquaintance sent him a listing for the opening, he applied.

“This provides an opportunity to continue my career and in an area I want to be living in,” he commented. “It works professional and personally.”

Besides his conservation work in Arizona, Leidner has also worked with several community and chamber organizations. He was part of Washington State University’s Washington Small Business Development Center where he assisted historic restoration and business district revitalization projects in towns like Poulsbo throughout the state. He took part in the Poulsbo convention center study a few years ago.

“That’s why I was interested in this position because it was something that brought together a lot of my background,” Leidner commented.

Chamber President Pat McFadden said Leidner’s experience working with non-profits, ties to the area and supervisory background made him the right candidate in the hiring committee’s eyes.

“He just had all the things we were looking for and was very focused on building membership through the benefits it presented to the community,” she commented.

Though he had some general ideas for the Poulsbo chamber, Leidner admitted that he doesn’t have any specific goals set for himself once he takes office. He plans to come in and acquaint himself with Poulsbo and the chamber before making any plans.

“The board for the chamber has their specific goals, strategies and plans they want to see accomplished, so my job is to be able to work to fruition those plans and objectives,” Leidner commented.

Leidner’s wife will be joining him in the move back to Washington state.

“Certainly, the town of Poulsbo is a beautiful city,” he said of the upcoming relocation. “I’m looking forward to being back on the water.”

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