Past chairs take a look back

Board Chairs from the past decade were asked to describe something from their tenure as Board Chair that had a positive impact either internally to the Chamber or externally to the community.


Paul Durban (2006)        

2006 was a year of change for the Aiken Chamber as we welcomed David Jameson to lead the organization. I was privileged to help make the transition a smooth one.



K.D. Justyn (2007)

For the first time the Aiken Chamber membership topped 1,000 businesses. These businesses looked to the Chamber to support their needs through new programs such as First Friday Means Business breakfast, Women in Business and the State of Our Community program.



Keith Wood (2008)

During the year I was Board chair we were able to launch the Aiken Young Professionals organization. Commissioning a study to show the economic impact of the horse industry also shed light on the value of that business sector to our community.



Joe Lewis (2009)

During my tenure as Board Chair, the Aiken Chamber led a successful campaign to repeal the Blue Laws in Aiken County.  Sunday sales have benefited the business community and put more money into our local economy.



Dr. Liz Stewart (2010)

The most important 2010 Chamber initiative was our support of the School Bond Referendum.  While the voters did not agree; at the very least, the referendum heightened awareness of our public education’s needs.



Frank Thomas (2011)

Obtaining the elite 5-star accreditation status by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce in 2011 stands as a testament to the dedication of numerous volunteers, who are the catalyst behind the Chamber’s success, and to the commitment of the Chamber’s professional staff.



 Arthur W. “Buzz” Rich (2012)

We developed the initial conceptual plan for the Blue Ribbon Panel and the Aspirational Cities Tour. And I got to play a “Blues Brother” in front of 500 people.



 Steve Wilson (2013)

Instituting the Benchmarking Report with objective data to measure the economic health of the community is something still utilized today. We also undertook a membership drive that increased the size of the Chamber and highlighted the value of belonging to the Chamber.



Dr. Deidre Mercer Martin (2014)

A focus on Economic Vitality including expanding our role as the “voice of business,” passage of the penny sales tax for schools, and encouraging a spirit of entrepreneurship through the Young Entrepreneurs Academy positively impacted the Aiken community.



Bart Blackwell (2015)

The highlight of my tenure as the 2015 Board Chair was the Aspirational Cities Tour. This 3-day trip energized Aiken’s business and civic leadership and provided a starting point on the path to true transformational change for our community. 



 Fran Jones (2016)

As I am just beginning my time as Board Chair, I see how our volunteers have a significant impact on the business community from attendance at ribbon cuttings to participation in the Aiken Visioning and Main Street meetings. Our chamber is successful because of our volunteer spirit.

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