There was a changing of the guard at the Prince Rupert and District Chamber of Commerce annual general meeting on March 21, with president Chad Cunningham turning over office to incoming president Jason Scherr.
Before the changeover, Cunningham addressed those gathered at the Crest and reflected on his time at the head of the local business organization.
“The Chamber is the voice of business, or at least it should be, and in order to do that it should engage the members and be member driven….Whenever possible in the past year we have tried to turn the mirro back on the members to find out what in important to them,” he said, adding that his goal was also to make incremental changes that would leave the organization slightly better than when he took office.
“Were we successful in becoming more member driven? I think so. We still have a ways to go, but I think that we engaged the members more in the last year.”
Scherr, who currently works as the Manager of Environmental Sustainability with the Prince Rupert Port Authority, said he is looking forward to leading the Chamber of Commerce in the current economic climate.
“We are starting to see signs of growth and rebirth. Prince Rupert is starting to re-invent itself…Now is the moment to decide the shape of Prince Rupert’s future,” he said, mentioning the shift from a resource-based economy to one driven by the import and export of goods.
“We have a story to tell the region, the province and the country, and that is that Prince Rupert is open for business.”
However, Scherr did add that the growth could not be “at all costs”.
“We must be wise about how we grow….Growth can occur while respecting our natural environment.”
Working with Scherr will be new board member and first vice-president John Farrell of Community Futures, new board member and second vice-president Rob Eby of Mackenzie Furniture, returning board members Bobbi Smith of Macro Properties, Tony Briglio of Northern Savings Credit Union and Odd Eidsvick of Eidsvick and Associates; and new board members Rober Stromdahl of Western Canada Marine Response Corporation, Scott Farwell of the Crest Hotel, David Smook of Homework, Derek Baker of the Prince Rupert and Port Edward Economic Development Office and Gordon Blumhagen of Rainforest Books.