The Gander and Area Chamber of Commerce brought to successful culmination another year of operation and activities last Wednesday at its annual general meeting - the 52nd since its inception in 1959.
The AGM was an opportunity for the chamber to welcome the new and say good-bye to the old, as it publicly acknowledged the newest members of its board of director, while thanking the ones departing at the end of their term.
Guiding the 11-member board of directors for the upcoming year will be Darrin Murray, who takes over from outgoing president and now past-president Dan Mahoney. For Mr. Murray, the president's seat is not unfamiliar territory as he served in the same capacity in 2006, and spent the past year in the first vice-president's chair, filling in for Mr. Mahoney when required.
"We had a great past year, where we accomplished many things, especially the completion of a strategic three-year plan," said Mr. Murray. "I guess the main goal of our board for the upcoming year is to implement what's in this plan." (See story "It's all in the plan on A1)
Mr. Murray said he knows his term as president is for just one year, and his focus will be to ensure the three-year plan gets off on the right foot, as it will be a "work in progress" for two upcoming presidents in 2013 and 2014.
"The plan will directly guide where the chamber is going in the next three years, so it's important to get it started right," he said.
A task Mr. Mahoney said he feels is in good hands.
"After working alongside Darrin for the past year, I have confidence he will move the chamber in the direction in the plan," said Mr. Mahoney. "As for me, my year is in a role of support to bring my experience and knowledge from the past five years. I was very pleased with the past year and what we accomplished, especially the three-year plan and moving our membership up to a point where we became classified urban instead of rural with the Canadian Chamber of Commerce. This is huge for our chamber."
As for the upcoming year, Mr. Murray said the chamber would continue its involvement in its community activities, including its business achievement awards and its annual charity golf tournament.
"Actually, we are still seeking interest from community charity organizations to partner with us on this year's event, so any group that might be interested should contact the chamber office as soon as possible," he said.
Even though there's a three-year plan in place to guide the chamber's activities, Mr. Murray said he's excited to get started, because he knows everything the chamber accomplishes in the upcoming year will be mandated by the plan.
"We have new faces with new ideas, and that's healthy for any organization," he said. "I must say, even though I've sat as president before, I'm looking forward to leading the group into a new era of social media and communication tools."
Rounding out the 2012-'13 board of directors will be Paula Clark of The Beacon, Dion Faulkner, Tony Rogers, David Carlson, Marcie White, Stephen Lewis and Fergus O'Brien. There is also one vacancy remaining, which Mr. Murray said should be filled in the near future.