Rangely’s new chamber director settling in to her position

Niki Turner photo Konnie Billgren has her sights on increasing tourism to the Rangely area and hopes to use her new position as the director of the Rangely Area Chamber of Commerce to bring the community together.
Niki Turner photo
Konnie Billgren has her sights on increasing tourism to the Rangely area and hopes to use her new position as the director of the Rangely Area Chamber of Commerce to bring the community together.

RANGELY I A native of the Louisiana bayou, Konnie Billgren brings a history of community involvement related to both tourism and the oil and gas industry to her new role as director of the Rangely Area Chamber of Commerce. Billgren took the position in August and hit the ground running. In the last few weeks she has attended a conference in Grand Junction and the Governor’s Tourism Conference in Breckenridge, where she learned first-hand about the dangers of altitude sickness. “I thought after being here (in Rangely) for nine months I would have acclimated, but apparently not.” Despite feeling under the weather, she attended the conference, and proceeded to distribute boxes of Rangely booklets along the I-70 corridor on her way home. “I think tourism is the biggest economic developer in these times. We need to get Rangely on the map,” she said. Last week she greeted visitors and chamber members during an open house for the new chamber offices with home-baked cookies and old-fashioned Southern hospitality. Billgren is taking her history of community service on various boards and committees and applying what she’s learned to the Rangely chamber. “This chamber office is going to be a real office with policies and procedures,” she said, explaining that her first few weeks, besides the conferences, have been focused on “housekeeping” tasks related to the position. “I’m hoping to put trust back in the chamber,” she said. She’s already at work on that goal with the implementation of the “Rocked by the Rangely Chamber” program, something she borrowed from her Louisiana roots as a way to promote community involvement and pride. Painted rocks are hidden throughout the town. If you find one, you can either keep it or pay it forward. Kids are treating it like an Easter egg contest, Billgren said. “It brings the community together, and puts a smile on someone’s face.” The new Rangely Area Chamber of Commerce office is at 255 E. Main St. Chamber meetings are held on the third Thursday of the month.