Indian River County Chamber of Commerce executive Penny Chandler has announced to the Chamber Board of Directors and staff her intention to retire in February of 2018.
Chairman of the Chamber Board Robert Paugh stated that “Penny has maintained and provided leaders with a sound succession plan for years. It is now time for us to implement that plan as we move forward with a formal search to find the next executive.” He added that “Chandler will lend her professional experience to move that plan into place and work with the Board as they fill the position.”
Chandler has been in Chamber management for thirty-seven years. She was recruited from the Annapolis, Maryland Chamber of Commerce to fill the Chamber executive’s position in Vero Beach in October 1995. She previously had worked with the Chambersburg, Pennsylvania Chamber of Commerce.
“I have been privileged to work with great community leaders and am proud to have served on this team. Our Chamber is respected and we have an excellent record of achievement and collaboration. Although it sounds cliché, it truly is time for me to spend more time with family and take part in other community endeavors.”
In the last 22 years the Chamber has been recognized for excellence as an organization along with various achievements in marketing and communications. Numerous awards have included Florida Chamber of Commerce of the Year, and United States Chamber Accreditation. Chandler has been recognized for her service to Florida Association of Chamber Professionals (FACP) and had served as their Chairman. She developed the Benchmarks for Chambers of Commerce Manual and was actively involved in FACP leadership for many years.
Under her leadership the Chamber established the Leadership Indian River County program which has now graduated 226 participants. When Piper Aircraft came under new ownership and was engaged in a search for relocation Chandler assembled a small group of city and county leaders who served as the team to retain the manufacturer. She wrote and initiated the proposal that recruited CVS distribution center. Under her leadership the Chamber raised over $1.5 million to build a new facility.
Shortly after she was hired in 1995 she was instrumental in the creation of an alliance between Martin, St. Lucie and Indian River County economic development leaders. “It was important for us to work together so we would not lose the opportunity to bring jobs to our region. That coalition remains in existence today.”
Chandler stated “It is with mixed emotions and after serious consideration that I have made the decision to retire. There is never a good time. I am very proud of the long list of achievements that our Chamber has accomplished through the talents of our staff and volunteers and collaborations with our government leaders.”
An executive search will be launched later this week. The Indian River County Chamber of Commerce is a county-wide organization representing Vero Beach and Indian River County businesses. Located in Vero Beach, the Chamber represents the business community by providing services, benefits and leadership for positive growth and change.