GUEST OPINION by Rich Wolcott

Thanks for a great tenure with Chamber

As reported in the previous two editions of the I-O, I have announced my resignation as manager of the Dallas Area Chamber of Commerce and Visitor Center.

My wife Janice of 41 years and I think it best to retire while I am still healthy and move on to enjoyable but productive retirement -- at my own pace.

I want to take this opportunity to express my thanks and gratitude for the support of the Chamber Board of Directors: President Ken Jacroux, Vice President Chelsea Pope, former Vice President Kimberly Zahr, Past President Brian Dalton, and Secretary Peggy Mehl.

Also special thanks to former board member Carrie Brendle, who devoted many hours as my mentor with, I might add, no experience in working with a not-for-profit service organization.

Current and past board members and volunteers have supported me in such challenging programs as our successful Summerfest events annual Halloween parade and the Christmas tree lighting, choral sing and Holiday Hop downtown promotional events.

Without the encouragement of the City of Dallas -- Mayor Jim Fairchild, city council members, City Manager Roger Jordan and all participating citizens of Dallas -- I could not have succeeded in accomplishing the many varied activities that have become an important part of the Dallas scene.

Although a recent newcomer from Maryland a little over four years ago, the two years as Chamber manager have given me a true sense of belonging to the city of Dallas and Polk County.

More importantly, I have enjoyed assisting in promoting the Dallas City Master Plan as our road map to ensure that we achieve realistic timely goals and objectives for a vibrant, prosperous local commercial economy.

As follow up programs, I and the Chamber board have supported the Downtown Business (Core) District Revitalization Program and, more recently, the proposed Urban Renewal District -- a current resolution before the City Council.

I am pleased and proud to say that the City of Dallas is moving forward and not backwards.

While I will miss the balance of 2004 and the years to come in working with the more than 250 Chamber members to assist in their successful ventures, I plan to remain active with Chamber volunteer activities, continuing to serve on the Dallas Economic Development Commission, Dallas Community School after-school program funded by the Ford Foundation and the Rickreall Watershed Council.

Other volunteer activities will include the Dallas Retirement Village, the Arboretum and others as time permits.

Lastly, my thanks to the I-O for its kind, generous and complimentary words written on my behalf in the Sept 1 editorial. The writer's comments for both Chambers -- Dallas and Monmouth/Independence -- were timely and goal setting: Maintaining a strong sense of individual community identity while bringing it all together under the greater Chamber umbrella.

I will end with above. Support your Chambers of Commerce and Visitor Centers. We are working for you and the success of your businesses and service organizations.


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