Listen to this post
MEEKER I Stephanie Kobald has been named the new executive director of the Meeker Chamber of Commerce.
Kobald will fill the vacancy left by Katelin Cook, who served as the executive director for three years, and who has accepted the position of economic development Coordinator for Rio Blanco County.
For the past year, Kobald has been the membership and tourism coordinator for the Meeker chamber.
“As the membership director, Stephanie has been learning about our local businesses and their needs and challenges,” Meeker Chamber President Leif Joy said. “When you combine her knowledge of local business with her out-of-the-box thinking, you get a dynamic leader who will bring fresh ideas to promote Meeker.”
Kobald was graduated from the University of Illinois with a bachelor of fine arts degree in landscape architecture. She moved to Meeker in 1999 from Chicago and worked as a landscape architect for DHM Design in Carbondale until 2011.
She was hired by the Meeker chamber in January 2013 and brought her strong creativity, marketing, graphic design, communications, public outreach and relationship building skills to the organization.
As executive director Kobald serves the community as a member of the Meeker Arts and Cultural Council board of directors and assists Meeker Elementary School as a Destination Imagination team leader.
Kobald has focused on building membership relations, promoting Meeker to visitors and strengthening the community.
“The chamber serves a lot of diverse functions for our community, and I am excited to take on this challenging position and tackle the work as executive director,” Kobald said. “I enjoy living in Meeker and am committed to supporting our citizens and businesses. I love promoting Meeker because I know it is a great place to play, live and work.”
As executive director, Kobald plans to continue the combination of services, programs and member benefits the Meeker chamber currently has in place and, with the leadership of the chamber board of directors, add to that foundation with new solutions toward some of the community issues.
“Stephanie is a great listener,” says Wendy Gutierrez, vice president of the chamber board. “I have seen her listen to a variety of ideas and incorporate them into a workable program.”
“I am excited for Stephanie’s advancement and believe 100 percent that the chamber is moving in the right direction,” Katelin Cook said. “Stephanie’s skill set is a great asset to this organization.”
“Meeker businesses must be adaptive and creative to survive and grow in our remote area and the chamber must also be adaptive and creative if it is to be responsive to the changing needs of our membership,” Joy said.
“We look forward to 2014 being a year of new opportunity for business,” Joy continued. “The chamber will focus on three areas: supporting area businesses, attracting visitors and being a partner in the Rio Blanco County Economic Development Initiative.”
There are several local events that the chamber plans to promote to draw more out-of-town visitors, such as the OHV Rendezvous, Meekerpalooza Arts and Music Festival and the U.S. Forest Service’s 50th anniversary of the Wilderness Act.
The chamber is also exploring additional tourism programs, such as maps, signage and other recreational events.
“By bringing more visitors to Meeker, we hope to increase foot traffic through our businesses,” Gutierrez said.
The mission of the Meeker chamber is to represent, advocate and encourage the development of businesses and our community by implementing responsible economic development, business retention and tourism programs while being a positive liaison between businesses and government.
The 2014 chamber board of directors includes: president Leif Joy, vice president Wendy Gutierrez, treasurer Ann Marie Scritchfield and members Joe Fennessy, Diana Jones, Cassie McGuire, Kim O’Connell, Lee Overton and Marti Walsh.