Smithville, TX chamber manager resigns and takes job at labor center

As many members of our chamber may have heard, I recently expressed an interest in moving full-time to the Smithville Manpower Training Center. This board met last week and officially offered me the position of full-time executive director of SWTC. I have served as interim executive director there on a part-time basis since July 2021, as this is an important initiative in the chamber’s strategic plan. I have officially resigned as Executive Director of the Smithville Area Chamber of Commerce effective August 31.

It has been the honor of my life to serve as Executive Director of the Smithville Area Chamber of Commerce for nearly eight years and to have served on the Chamber’s Board of Directors for three years prior. We have faced many challenges, from the phenomenal chamber and community growth experienced from 2014 to 2019, to the loss of our building to an arsonist, to the many unique challenges of COVID-19 and of course , to the reconstruction of our new establishment in 2021.

We implemented many new services during my time at the Chamber, including a dramatic expansion of events, beautification efforts, and programs in our Central Business District. We’ve launched a new We Support Smithville ISD initiative that includes an annual Top 10% Banquet, scholarships, campus tours and more. We’ve grown our Keep Smithville Beautiful program significantly, including two citywide cleanup days (with over 100 volunteer participants in 2021-22), Main banners, and Main sculptures.

Tourism outreach has grown to include our award-winning Smithville Visitor’s Guide and Smithville 78957 Charger as well as our popular website www.visitsmithville.org and social media page. We began hosting semi-annual wine tours and have hosted five popular Music in the Park concert series events each year since 2017. We have also entered into a successful partnership with the Smithville Noon Lions Club and Smithville Masonic Lodge with our Tournament annual Smithville Golf Club, and started what I hope will continue to be a very busy annual Spooktacular Halloween event, and don’t forget Wingfest! We also expanded from a single annual chamber luncheon to four quarterly luncheons, continued our nominee forum, and significantly increased our annual awards banquet and casino night.

We’ve nearly doubled our membership since I’ve been here (just under 500 members at the time of this writing), developed a strong online presence with the launch of the state-of-the-art website hosted by Chamber Master, reaches over 25,000 social media followers. every month and has dramatically increased attendance at many community events, including an average of over 7,000 attendees in our annual Festival of Lights Parade. This year on July 4e The celebration was another example of a successful event with over 3,500 attendees throughout the day’s activities, culminating in a breathtaking fireworks display.

Through it all, I have had the pleasure of working with amazing volunteer board and community members with a true servant heart. I will miss the Chamber so much, but my professional and personal journey points me in a new direction.

For anyone interested in applying for the position of Chamber General Manager, a job description and instructions are available on the Chamber’s Facebook page and on Indeed. The Chamber Council will review all applications and begin interviews soon.

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Congratulations to Van Zandt Realty for expanding their office in “The B Side” which includes beautiful event space. We celebrated with them last week with a ribbon cutting filled with well-wishers. Congratulations again and thank you for investing in Smithville.

Join us this Thursday for our July mix at the VFW at 5 p.m. and our quarterly lunch on July 27 at First United Methodist Church, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Register for lunch at www.smithvilletx.org or call 512-237-2313.

Don’t Forget — The 25th Annual Casino Night! These tickets are selling fast, so be sure to sign up as a sponsor and/or get your tickets at www.smithvilletx.org. This year we will have Catering by Chabot, live music from the Bucksnort Boogie Boys and games, games, games! Many thanks to our title sponsor: Kragh’s Jewelers.

The next quarterly chamber luncheon will be July 27 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at First United Methodist Church, 400 Olive St. in Smithville. Our guest speaker will be Sheriff Maurice Cook who will speak on “The State of Law Enforcement in Bastrop County” as part of our Government Affairs Committee’s “State of…” series. Get your tickets online at www.smithvilletx.org or call us at 512-237-2313. Luncheon by John Chabot, tickets are $15. Networking from 11 a.m. to 12 p.m. From noon to 1 p.m. we will have dinner, a featured speaker and door prizes.

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