Columbia chamber finalists named

The Columbia County Chamber of Commerce showcased the finalists today for its executive director’s position.

Tammy Shepherd, John Carney and Jim Tingen – the finalists as chosen last month by the chamber’s executive committee – were the featured guests at a breakfast reception in Evans.

One of the three will be chosen Thursday during a special-called meeting of the chamber’s board of directors, said board Chairman John T.Y. Smith.

“We had a list of 40 applicants from all across the country that we narrowed to 10,” Mr. Smith said. “We were looking for someone with experience working with a chamber, so we narrowed to six, then three after interviews.”

All three finalists are Evans residents and have served in leadership positions with the Columbia County Chamber, Mr. Smith said.

Mrs. Shepherd currently works at the chamber as the director of programs. As executive director, Mrs. Shepherd, whose husband Stan serves as the board president of the county’s Development Authority, said she wanted to improve services to retain members.

Mr. Carney, a former vice president with the Family Y and vice chairman of the chamber’s Government Affairs committee, called himself an expert in developing relationships and wants to improve relations between the chamber and the county’s business community.

Mr. Tingen, the special projects director for Augusta-based Callingpost Communications, said he would like to target companies without storefronts and home-based businesses for chamber membership.

At the reception, the finalists mingled with such county dignitaries as commission Chairman Ron Cross, school board Chairwoman Regina Buccafusco, schools Superintendent Charles Nagle and area businesspeople.

“We wanted a chance for them interact with the county leadership and with those they’ll be serving,” Mr. Smith said.

The new executive director will replace Karen Chrjapin, who resigned last month over a budget dispute.

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