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Wetzel County Chamber Of Commerce Holds Yearly Meeting

By Staff | Jan 29, 2020

Pictured are the newly elected board members of the Wetzel County Chamber of Commerce. From left to right is President Don Riggenbach, Debbie Bennett — WVNCC, April Pierce — Peoples Bank, Sheena Stalder — Stalder Family Creamery, Bobbin Pardine — individual member, Joel Potts — City of New Martinsville, and Camissa McCurdy — Genesis Healthcare. Not pictured is Zach Pittman — Shoe Sensation and Christine Mitchell — Dominion Energy; both were also elected.

The Wetzel County Chamber of Commerce held their annual business and membership meeting on Thursday, January 23 at West Virginia Northern Community College (WVNCC). During the meeting, attendees witnessed the induction of new board members as well as the election of officers and a review of the previous year’s activities.

President of the Chamber, Don Riggenbach, began the meeting by expressing his gratitude to those who were in attendance.

Following this was the election of Board Members. After a ballot was taken, Riggenbach announced the new and returning board members for 2020. Returning board members were Camissa McCurdy – Genesis Healthcare; Debbie Bennett – WVNCC; April Pierce – Peoples Bank; and Christine Mitchell – Dominion Energy. Newly elected members included Bobbin Pardine – individual member; Joel Potts – City of New Martinsville; Sheena Stalder – Stalder Family Creamery; and Zach Pittman – Shoe Sensation.

Riggenbach welcomed each new board member, and thanked the returning members as well.

The floor was then opened for nominations for the following offices: President, Vice President, Secretary, and Treasurer.

The nominations that were carried were as follows: Don Riggenbach as President, Tina Rush as Vice President, and Debbie Bennett as Secretary.

In regards to the Treasurer’s position, there were two individuals wishing to run. Riggenbach explained that Eric Vincent had recently stepped down as long-time treasurer, and both Ashley Blake and April Pierce were nominated as candidates to fill the position.

Both candidates had prepared a statement with more information and background on who they were and what their qualifications for secretary were, which Vice President Rush read.

In Pierce’s statement, she explained that she is currently the Branch Manager at Peoples Bank in New Martinsville. She stated that her commitment to the community, financial expertise, and integrity are all traits that make her a great candidate. Pierce said that she is regularly involved in community events, and that her work in the bank gives her the needed expertise to be successful treasurer. She further explained that from this experience, she has the capability to control profit and loss budget.

Blake, who is a Branch Manager at Wesbanco, also prepared a statement which stipulated that she has been on the Chamber Board of Directors for six years, has served on several committees, has participated and volunteered in many different Chamber activities, and is passionate about the Chamber. She has served as chair of the Shortline Ramp Festival, and has been in banking for seven years. She explained that what she finds important is getting out in the community, getting one’s name out there, asking local businesses what their daily struggles are, and helping them to find a solution in order for their businesses to prosper. Blake also stated that she firmly believes in helping helping businesses to prosper and grow, increasing job opportunities, and encouraging expansion and development in the counties.

Following the reading of the statements, both Rush and Riggenbach commented that both are excellent candidates before asking them to step out for the vote. During the board’s deliberation, it was questioned if the two could co-serve as treasurer. However, it was decided that this action was not compliant with the Chamber’s bylaws.

After a vote was taken, Pierce was awarded the position of treasurer.

In other business, a motion was made and subsequently carried in favor of accepting the minutes of the previous two Chamber meetings.

Following the passing of this motion, Executive Director Carla McBee gave a presentation and report on what the Chamber did in 2019 and an idea of what’s to come in 2020. McBee reported that 2019 was a busy year for the Chamber with their many activities such as the Lunch and Learn Series, State of the Wetzel County and State of the Tyler County Breakfasts, the Pay It Forward competition, Wetzel-Tyler Entrepreneur Pitch, around ten Ribbon Cutting ceremonies, Business After Hours, Big Buck Winners, Community Awards Event, Christmas Day Parade, and Christmas Day Activities, as well as the Shortline Ramp Festival and the accompanying 5K.

It was mentioned that the Christmas Day Activities were a wild success. At the previous year’s event, about 120 children participated. The Chamber reportedly expected numbers to double this past Christmas, with the event to reach 200 to 250 kids, and asked for donations accordingly. However, around 340 children participated in Christmas Day Activities this past year.

The Chamber also reportedly added around 19 new businesses were added to their membership during 2019.

McBee then informed all in attendance that they had hired a marketer this year, and this individual is diligently working with them. Members are being asked what they want and need out of the Chamber, and were also informed that if they need to advertise an event, to let them know so that they can help offer assistance in getting the word out.

After detailing 2019, the group was informed that the events the Chamber held and participated in 2019 were likely be repeated and continued in 2020.

A financial report was also given by McBee for the purposes of the board meeting portion of this event.

Under new business on the Chamber agenda, it was said that while in an executive meeting, it was discovered that the bylaws state that if a member ceases payment of dues, they don’t actually stop being members of the Chamber. The executive council is still required to remove them as members. A motion was needed for the executive council to be permitted to “clean up” the membership list, as many businesses and organizations listed as members no longer exist or are no longer members of the Chamber. A motion was made in favor of this action following discussion on the subject, and it was carried.

A motion was also made for two new businesses to join the Chamber – Gordmans and Joe’s Tire. This motion was quickly carried.

Committee Presentations were then given by the respective Chairs. Camissa McCurdy spoke for the Economic Growth committee, Jane Ann Gamble for the Events & Special Programs committee, and Brandon Galici for the Membership & Community Engagement committee. The Chairs spoke on their committees, discussing what they are involved in and responsible for. All in attendance were invited to join in on meetings and volunteer their time for these efforts.

Following the business meeting and announcement of an invite to attend the Pleasants County Business After Hours event in St. Marys at Galaxy, the meeting was adjourned.