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New chamber president thinks big

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A volunteer position led to a career opportunity for Bill Bassham.

Bill Bassham took over as president of the Greater North Augusta Chamber of Commerce on Aug. 28, 2006.  Charmain Z. Brackett/Correspondent
Charmain Z. Brackett/Correspondent
Bill Bassham took over as president of the Greater North Augusta Chamber of Commerce on Aug. 28, 2006.

"I like the idea of trying to help businesses," said Mr. Bassham, who took over as the Greater North Augusta Chamber of Commerce's president Aug. 28.

While working in the banking industry, Mr. Bassham spent eight years as the board chairman of the Aiken Chamber of Commerce and helping businesses in the area.

"A lot of the work of the chamber makes the community a better place to live and work in," he said.

He spent a few years in Easley, S.C., working with the chamber of commerce there before becoming director of the Highlands, N.C., Chamber of Commerce six years ago.

Even when he was working in Easley and Highlands, Mr. Bassham maintained a home in Aiken County. His wife, Lynnda, is the director of human services for the Lower Savannah Council of Governments.

He said he spent weekdays in Highlands and returned to Aiken on weekends.

When former North Augusta chamber President Victoria Hann resigned to take a position at Augusta State University, Mr. Bassham jumped at the chance to return home.

He said he's excited about North Augusta's future and looks forward to the role the chamber will play in the development of the city's businesses.

The chamber has many good programs that Mr. Bassham hopes to continue to build, and he would like to start some new initiatives, he said.

Mr. Bassham would like to produce a guide on starting a business in the city. He plans to link up with city officials to include the most pertinent information for North Augustans.

The chamber needs a new strategic plan, he said, and he expects some of the plan's components to mirror initiatives in North Augusta 2000's strategic plan.

He hopes to build ties with the Aiken Chamber of Commerce for future collaborations on issues facing business owners in Aiken County.

"Advocates are needed for the new MOX (mixed-oxide) facility and for advocating new missions for SRS (Savannah River Site)," said Mr. Bassham, who has been renewing contacts in the area.

"I'm very excited I've been allowed to renew old friendships," he said. "A lot of people from here I've known for 30 years."

Reach Charmain Z. Brackett at czbrackett@hotmail.com.

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