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Batavia chamber seeks leadership in the electronic age

Organization accepting applications for new executive director

Published: Saturday, Jan. 11, 2014 5:30 a.m. CDT

BATAVIA – Jack Zaruba says the next executive director of the Batavia Chamber of Commerce must be prepared to lead the organization in the electronic age. Zaruba, president of the chamber’s board of directors, said the goal is to make sure the chamber is relevant in 2014 and beyond.

The chamber is seeking a new executive director to replace Roger Breisch, the outgoing executive director whose last day will be Jan. 31. Breisch has been in his role for nearly 10 years.

The chamber will accept applications through Wednesday, with information and a job description available online at www.bataviachamber.org.

Zaruba said he had four resumes on his desk, and “all are qualified … all are excited about doing what we want to do.”

Last month, Breisch announced that he will be resigning as the organization’s executive director. At the time, he said that “chambers constantly need to be reinvented, and I’m not sure I’m the right guy for that,” although he said he was proud that membership in the chamber had increased during his tenure.

Zaruba said it’s key for the chamber to “capture more of the business market than we have in the past.” He said the chamber is excited to be putting together a revamped website, which should be online in the next 30 days.

He said much has changed over the past 10 years. For instance, as a general contractor, he said he “can’t continue to advertise myself the way I did 10 years ago. … Yellow Pages are pretty much out.”

“We need to be more relevant to what’s going on today,” Zaruba said. “Not that Roger wasn’t, but it’s just that things are changing fast. My goal is to be more responsive to that.”

He said a recent demographic study conducted by the chamber showed some areas that could be improved. For example, of its 300 members, Zaruba said there is “a huge group of nonprofits in our group.”

“Are we generating any programs for them?” he asked. “No, not really. We’re going to try and focus on who we are serving.”

Know more

The Batavia Chamber of Commerce will accept applications for the position of executive director through Wednesday. For information, visit www.bataviachamber.org. Candidates may email a cover letter and resume to info@bataviachamber.org.

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