May 23, 2018
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Chamber leader search to take 3-4 months

By Eric Russell, BDN Staff

BANGOR, Maine — The Bangor Region Chamber of Commerce has resumed its search for a new president, a process that is expected to take at least three or four months.

Jerry Whalen, a member of the Chamber’s board of directors and head of the search committee, said Thursday that the stakes are high for the pending hire.

“There are all kinds of opportunities right now, and the Chamber is in a position to take a leadership role,” he said.

The Bangor Region Chamber of Commerce represents more than 800 businesses in 21 area communities. Whalen said he has received a handful of informal inquiries about the position, but that the official search only recently began.

Jessica Feinstein, a consultant with Portland-based Pemberton Swift, has been tapped to lead recruitment efforts.

“She’s been asking better questions than us so far, so I think that’s a good sign,” Whalen said.

Longtime Chamber President Candy Guerrette stepped down this summer after the board of directors indicated it was looking to go in a different direction. Guerrette had led the Chamber for 13 years but did not have a specified contract and always served at the will of the board.

A messy dispute over Guerrette’s severance package dragged out for a few weeks but eventually was resolved amicably. Karen Cole, formerly the Chamber’s communications and marketing manager, has been serving as its acting director since Guerrette’s dismissal on July 1.

Whalen and other board members have been busy recently updating the president’s job description to focus more on economic development possibilities.

“We took the time to think about where we see [the Chamber] going in the future,” he said. “We want a bigger, more ro-bust role for the Chamber and a charismatic leader who can get us there.”

In addition to Whalen, board members Andy Hamilton and Jane Irving have been assigned to the search committee. Several other community members will round out the 10-member group: Joyce Hedlund, Sandra Leonard, Carol Epstein, D’arcy Main-Boyington, Mike Aube, Andrew Sturgeon and Miles Theeman.


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