Opportunities for community business development and involvement of the Clemson Area Chamber of Commerce was a theme of the chamber’s annual meeting last week.
The meeting held Thursday at Boscobel Golf Course Clubhouse saw transfer of chairman of the organization’s board of directors plus awards of area business leaders.
Real Estate business owner, Neil Monaghan, accepted the reigns of the organization that has sent much of the year in transition having lost its chief executive several months ago.
The chamber’s executive board has been involved in an extensive search for a new president.
Monaghan and outgoing board Chairman John Ducworth both said the move to a new executive and redefined goals for the chamber will provide opportunities for the chamber and the community.
Ducworth remained indefinite on timing of a decision on choice of a new executive. “We want to make sure we have the right match,” he said. The selection committee has received resumes from local and out of state candidates for the position. “People know Clemson and the quality of community that it is.” He hopes to have a recommendation to the executive board in a few weeks, he said.
Monaghan said he sees opportunity in the coming year in part because of freedom the chamber has attained by paying off a mortgage on its office space. A capital campaign early in the fiscal year last year and matching fund from the City of Clemson paid off the debt.
Overall he sees a dynamism in the community. He is close to that as he sees an uptick in volume of hi real estate business. “People want to live here,” he said. They also want to visit, he believes.
The opportunities for building on the tourist economy surrounding natural attributes of the community are part of the new focus he and Ducworth referred to.
He sees possibilities in removal of dams along Twelve Mile Creek. The region is ripe with history Monaghan believes and development of a marketed historical trail could help attract visitors. Such a project could be funded in public private partnership with, among other governmental agencies, the National Park Service.
Another public-private partnership with Clemson University is helping create Lake Hartwell as a destination for rowing competitions. That sort of thing and other tourist travel brings money to restaurants and hotels.
He also believes manufacturing jobs are needed in the area. “We have a good workforce,” Monaghan said.
Among award recipients were Amanda Long for the Pendleton Area Business Council Award; Jenny Marhanka, Central WalMart Manager for Central Area Business Council Award; Local BB&T employees for the Small Business of the Year Award; Karen Ellers of Clemson Community Care for the Duke Energy Citizenship Award.