Chamber hires new executive director

By Daniel Brunty
The Choctaw Plaindealer

The Choctaw County Chamber of Commerce received bittersweet news last December when they received the resignation from then Executive Director Lara Bowman. With the position being vacate ever since that time, the Choctaw County Economic Development District and Chamber ended their search and are proud to announce Steve Anderson as their new Executive Director.

Anderson was approved to be hired for the position during the March 3 board meeting of The Choctaw County Economic Development District, and will begin his duties on March 10. Those duties include directing the activities of the organization and defining its goals and objectives, help formulate the program of work and develop the leadership structure and volunteer membership to see if that is accomplished, develops an adequate staff, assigns functions and has sole responsibility for the employment of the staff, being directly responsible to the Board of Directors for the entire operation of the chamber and its program of work/efficiency, supervise committees and directs progress until the goal is attained, responsible for the finances of the organization, and prepare annual budget in conjunction with the Chamber officers.

Other duties include submitting budgets for approval to the Board of Directors, approves all specific expenditures coming under this budget, directs all membership solicitation of new members and maintenance of current memberships, directs staff on follow-up or contact of all past-due members, responsible for communication to the membership and general public on activities and policy stands of the organization, responsible for all media contacts, press releases, etc. to the media, serves as contact for media, speaks for the organization at various meetings, and maintains close contact with all groups in the community and advises on developments affecting the business community.

As Executive Director of the Chamber of Commerce, Anderson will be responsible in assisting the local business community with their business related needs and exploring opportunities for growth and improvement. He will do this while planning community development events to encourage interaction between local businesses and Choctaw County residents. Anderson will also promote the County to local citizens, potential business and industry leaders and at the regional, state and national level.

Anderson was previously the Executive Director at the Belzoni-Humphreys Development Foundation in Belzoni before taking the Chamber position. He also served as the Executive Director of the Webster County Development Council in Eupora from July 2002 until Dec. 2004. Anderson received his M.B.A. Marketing and Management degree from the University of Southern Mississippi and his B.S. Marketing degree at Mississippi State University. He is certified as a Professional Community and Economic Developer as well.

“I plan on working and taking the base of the programs that the Chamber has right now and just continuing to improve those,” Anderson said. “I also plan to bring in new programs that will benefit all of Ackerman, French Camp, and Weir. This will help improve the atmosphere and quality of life in Choctaw County. Choctaw County is a great community and I am glad to be here serving its wonderful residents.”

District board president Ron Bennett was very pleased with the hiring of Anderson. “Steve’s education and experience will provide invaluable assistance to both boards as we continue to provide economic growth and opportunities for our citizens,” Bennett said. “We are thankful to Lara Bowman for her help to get the Chamber of Commerce on this exciting path and are looking forward to: “A Great Day in Choctaw County” as Steve steps in.”

Bennett also mentioned that Chamber Administrative Assistant Donna McKay will be working with Anderson by providing assistance in the transition as well as her experience and knowledge of the county.

Chamber Board President Amanda McBride was relieved the board had filled the position and is ready to work with Anderson in taking the Chamber to the next level. “The Chamber of Commerce is excited to have our next leader in place to help move Choctaw County forward,” McBride said. “As executive director, Steve will help the Chamber keep our momentum in creating quality community events for the county and to continue to provide support for our local businesses. There are great things to come from the Chamber of Commerce and we hope our communities will continue to support us as we strive to improve our county.”

If you have any questions regarding the Choctaw County Chamber of Commerce and their upcoming events, you may contact (662) 285-3778.