Originally created 06/20/03

New leader reaches out to members, businesses



Gordon Renshaw doesn't want to be presumptuous.

So, after only a couple of days at the helm of the Columbia County Chamber of Commerce, he said he really doesn't have any long-term goals.

"I don't want to assume I know what the business needs of the community are at this point," he said.

Mr. Renshaw started as the executive director of the chamber Monday and spent his first few days acclimating himself to the public sector. He had served as the director of community relations for Goodwill Industries since January 1999.

For now, he said, he has two goals, both short-term. He wants to meet many of the chamber's members, and he also wants to continue the chamber's membership drive. To that end, he's already met with some members of the membership drive committee.

"They are on board and they are wanting it to succeed," he said.

Mr. Renshaw spent Wednesday afternoon in Harlem, touring the city with Mayor Scott Dean and meeting business owners. He says he hopes his friendship with Mr. Dean - who was in the same Leadership Augusta class as Mr. Renshaw - will help improve the chamber's relationship with businesses in the city.

"This certainly is a good first step to see Harlem benefit from the chamber and vice-versa," he said.

Mr. Renshaw is replacing interim Director Andy Kingery, who will stay with the chamber through the end of the week. Mr. Kingery was named the acting director of the chamber earlier this year, a few months after retiring from the banking industry.

"Gordon has really hit the ground running," Mr. Kingery said. "He's doing very well, and he's not bashful when it comes to talking to people."

Chamber officials are planning a July 8 session for residents to meet Mr. Renshaw and new development authority Executive Director Zack Daffin. Officials are looking for sponsors for that event, Mr. Kingery said.

BIOGRAPHY

NAME: Gordon Renshaw

AGE: 34

RESIDENCE: Martinez

FAMILY: Wife, Sharon; daughters Rachel, 5, Rebekah, 3

EDUCATION: Bachelor of science degree with concentration in human resource management and minor in psychology from Liberty University, Lynchburg, Va.

WORK HISTORY: Goodwill Industries of Middle Georgia and the CSRA: director of business services and community relations (2001-03), regional contracts manager (1999-2001); Goodwill Industries, Nashville (1997-99); director of operations for start-up company in Ontario (1996); director of not-for-profit business specializing in job skills training in Ontario (1993-96)

CHAMBER EXPERIENCE: Graduate of Leadership Augusta program (2003); Member of existing industry committee for the Augusta Metro Chamber of Commerce (1999-2000)

CIVIC GROUPS: Member of Martinez-Evans Rotary Club (2002-); member of Columbia County Rotary Club (2000-02); Sunday school teacher at Warren Baptist Church

Reach Jason B. Smith at (706) 868-1222, ext. 115, or jason.smith@augustachronicle.com.