Athens Area Chamber of Commerce Preparing for Executive Search

The leadership of the Athens Area Chamber of Commerce has initiated an executive search process to fill the president and chief executive officer’s position. Current president Doc Eldridge announced in December that he will be leaving the Chamber effective March 1, 2018. He has accepted a position with Twin Lakes Recovery Center, which provides treatment services for drug and alcohol abuse.

“The executive search process will be conducted in three phases,” according to Shannon Wilder, current Chair of the Chamber. “The first phase will be focused on listening to our membership, community stakeholders and regional leaders about the type of executive they feel is important for the Chamber. Doc has built a strong foundation for the organization, and our challenge is to determine the best type of professional to build on those successes.”

A recent membership survey of Chamber members will be utilized as the base for the research. Additional local, regional and state leaders will also be contacted for input.

The second phase of the process will include a nationwide search for the new executive. This will begin in early March after the Search Committee approves a weighting scale of skill sets desired of the new leader and an updated position description. The skill sets will be derived from the stakeholder feedback in phase one.

The final phase of the executive search process will be interviews with the most qualified candidates. The search process will take approximately 90 to 120 days.

Under Eldridge’s leadership, the Chamber expanded and improved programming for members; gave its support to the creation of the Athens-Clarke County Office of Economic Development; stabilized its financial position, including the recent sale of the Chamber Building; increased membership; re-established a role as an important contributor to the community and as the leading advocate for business.

Other members of the Search Committee include: Matt Bishop, J.W. Fanning Institute for Leadership Development; Doug Brouillard, Eaton Corporation; Tony Ferguson, Georgia Power; Dean Mannheimer, Athens First Bank & Trust; Jean Mullis, Jackson EMC; Michele Pearson, Edward Jones; and Chuck Toney, Jackson Spalding.

The Chason Group, an executive recruitment firm specializing in chambers of commerce, economic development authorities and foundations, is assisting the AACC with the search.