As Sandy Evans, the new executive vice president of the Steamboat Springs Chamber Resort Association, rode her bike down Emerald Mountain soon after hearing the good news, she thought to herself, "I am the luckiest person in the whole world."
Not only does Evans get to live in what she believes to be one of the most beautiful places in the country, she has earned the opportunity to take a role in preserving the environmental health, natural beauty, quality of life and economic vitality of the area.
"I have what is probably the best chamber in the state to work with," she said. "Ninety-five percent of the local businesses belong to the chamber."
Restructuring the chamber is one of Evans' first priorities
Her promotion required that she give up her position as director of community development. Evans wants to hire a new employee but she won't be hiring a replacement. Instead, she's maintaining the community development responsibilities and will look for someone skilled in computers to fill another role.
"We are really lacking in the technical department," Evans said. "I have spoken with the board and with the chamber about our need for a technical person."
The chamber needs someone who can organize statistics and other data, coordinate community needs and changes with Web pages, develop computer models, and to help lead businesses in the same direction.
"We need to stay ahead of the curve," Evans said. "We need someone to help bring us into the 21st century."
She hopes to have the new position filled by the end of July.
Evans also has been giving a lot of thought to the challenges before the chamber board. First, she has the enormous task of following through on action plans that came out of the Economic Summit June 1 and 2. She also sees the chamber evolving considerably, and wants to make sure it evolves in an appropriate way.
"We've been marketing toward specific events like the vintage auto show, which is not returning, and the balloon rodeo, which may not be returning. What will we do to replace these events? It doesn't necessarily have to be another event. It could be something entirely different, like using the new Steamboat Grand and other resort space for business conventions."
Evans also reiterated her intent to help the chamber take a lead role in managing growth.
"We all have a lot invested in the beauty and environmental health of the valley. We don't want so many people here that this is destroyed. It's about achieving balance."
The president of the chamber, Ed MacArthur, agrees with Evans about the need to look at the future with new eyes.
"Sandy's right," MacArthur said. "The process of changing the chamber will be an evolving one, and we are, indeed, looking at other opportunities."
But not everyone agrees with Evans about the directions she said the chamber might take in the near future.
"I think that the overall direction of the chamber will continue in a somewhat similar fashion," MacArthur said. "Eventing and events might change based on what the community and chamber want and need, but there is a contingent of business people that feel eventing is very important. I really don't think we can walk away from it completely."
Evans was chosen from a pool of 46 applicants, that included local candidates and people in other parts of the country.
"She's been here a long time, she's very well connected," MacArthur said, "and she'll be a great asset to the chamber."
To reach Bonnie Nadzam call 871-4205 or e-mail email@example.com