When news came in that Terri Kimble was getting ready to leave the Ahwatukee Foothills Chamber of Commerce, I think everyone was a little surprised. I've only been with the Ahwatukee Foothills News for a short period of time but in my time here I've seen Terri all over the place. She's at ribbon cuttings, she's meeting new businesses, she's giving presentations at the Ahwatukee Foothills Village Planning Committee meetings. She's done a lot for the chamber and for the community.
Now she's gone on to do the same job in Chandler and, in the meantime, a former Chamber Board of Directors member, Larry Hughes, has stepped in to fill the interim position of president.
"We realize we have some big shoes to fill," Hughes said. "She's been very successful in creating a lot of energy and a lot of excitement in the chamber. We didn't want to lose any of that so we wanted to make sure we found a capable replacement. When we realized there was going to be a void they asked me if I would step in and perform the interim job until we were able to find a permanent seat, and I said yes."
Though clearly qualified, with more than 25 years of experience as a corporate executive, small business owner and consultant, Hughes said he's not interested in the permanent position. Hughes says he told the chamber when he accepted the position that it was for a period of 90 days or less.
"Hopefully less because that means we found the right candidate and got them in here quickly," Hughes said.
So the search for a new president and chief executive officer has begun. Hughes said they've advertised for the position and already have a slate of candidates, though it's not clear how many.
"Obviously, we just had a very successful fireworks show which is one of our biggest events of the year," Hughes said. "It pulls the community together. I think the person we're looking for is someone who can carry that on and build on it and continue to serve the community and especially the business community in Ahwatukee."
That fireworks show marks the official end of Kimble's position in Ahwatukee. She ended her transition period and began her new job in Chandler on July 5.
A committee and board is being formed at the Ahwatukee Foothills Chamber of Commerce to go through the candidates and make a decision. Until then it's a waiting game and hopefully business as usual during this transition.
"I'm just trying to keep the business aspect of the community going in the chamber," Hughes said. "I'm also reaching out to the members of the chamber itself, the businesses here, and seeing if there are any needs I can help out with in the meantime. Mainly, it's keeping the day-to-day business going in the chamber. It's all about supporting the local businesses. That's what the chamber is all about and that's what we do. Support the community and support the businesses."
So goodbye, Terri. I'm sure we'll see more from her as she works in nearby Chandler. Hopefully soon Ahwatukee businesses will have a new chamber president they can look to for help, but until then the community is in good hands.
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