New Chamber of Commerce executive director Tammy Verigin-Burk was officially introduced on Thursday (Dec. 13) at the chamber AGM and open house holiday mixer.
After a lengthy search following the resignation of Pam McLeod, Verigin-Burk was hired in late-November and is now firmly ensconced, overseeing the chamber and working closely with the board of directors.
“I am absolutely loving it,” she said. “I’m a born and raised Castlegar girl, so I’ve always had a passion for Castlegar. So I’m very happy to be in this position and focussing on one community and the needs of that community.”
Before accepting the job, Verigin-Burke was the executive director for Freedom Quest Regional Youth Services which covers the whole West Kootenays.
“I’ve always been keenly interested in the Chamber of Commerce, and I’ve followed the work they’ve done as well as the business community since I’ve been back in the area,” she said. “It’s always been a strong interest for me and when I saw the job posting come up in the summer time I was curious. When the job was posted again, I decided I would look into the position and find out the direction they were going in and to see whether it would be a fit for me. I was always looking at expanding on my personal work experiences. And so I decided to make the career change.”
The chamber has several important projects on the go including the Shop Local project.
“We also want to make connection with the membership and find out what their needs and challenges are,” said Verigin-Burk. “We want to see what they hope to gain from the chamber and how the chamber can support them in some of their goals.”
Verigin-Burk says there are several challenges facing local businesses but she expects things to pick up in 2013.
“Some of the challenges have been the new cross border shopping regulations,” she said. “and just the downturn in the economy was a challenge for local business from my understanding.”
It’s important for chamber members to know what the benefits of being a chamber member are, says Verigin-Burk.
“We’re also going to be looking into the evening transportation challenges,” she said. “With that we’ll be working with the business community to come up with a plan of action. We’ll be looking at a meeting sometime near the end of January.”