Knightdale chamber close to appointing new director

aspecht@newsobserver.comJuly 8, 2013 

Tom Williams

COURTESY OF TOM WILLIAMS

— The Knightdale Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors is likely to name its next executive director at the July 11 board meeting, according to Tom Williams, chamber president.

About 20 people applied for the job, and “maybe twelve were worth serious consideration,” Williams said in a recent interview. Williams said the board conducted interviews with five candidates for the position on June 12. He did not disclose the identity of the applicants or say if the board narrowed the field since then.

“Our goal all along was to name someone in July,” Williams said. “I’d say that’s likely to happen. We’re in the process of our second-round interviews.”

The Knightdale chamber has operated without an executive director since April 30, when Jennifer Bryan resigned to take a job with the Wake Tech Foundation. Sherry Samuels, office administrator for the chamber, has led the chamber since then. Samuels and former Knightdale Mayor Billy Wilder “did a great job” putting on the chamber’s annual expo last month at Knightdale High School, Williams said.

Organizing the expo without Bryan was a tall task, Williams said. Bryan, the wife of Wake County commission chairman Joe Bryan, worked as executive director for 18 years. Though she was described as the business community’s “linchpin,” Williams and others said the town would benefit from a new voice.

“It’ll be great to have a new perspective as we turn the corner,” Knightdale Mayor Russell Killen said.

This summer, the town is expected to open Knightdale Station, a 70-acre park on First Avenue that’s likely to bring a surge of residential and commercial development to long-stagnant downtown Knightdale.

In preparation for the anticipated growth, Town Hall is spending thousands on a rebranding campaign. The next chamber director will play an integral role in helping Knightdale staff go through the rebranding process, Killen said.

“The next (director) would definitely be involved with helping us push forward with the new image,” Killen said.

Specht: 919-829-4826

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