Athens Area Chamber of Commerce Executive Search Moves into Second Phase

(For Immediate Release, March 2018)

The Athens Area Chamber of Commerce has launched a nationwide search for a new executive to lead the 800-plus membership organization. The goal is to have a new leader in place by mid-year.

Doc Eldridge, who served as president and chief executive officer since 2007, left on March 1 to accept a position with Twin Lakes Recovery Center. Lenn Chandler, retired Vice President of the Northeast Region for Georgia Power Company, is serving as interim president over the next several months. He has previously served on the chamber board.

“This is a great opportunity for the Athens Area Chamber to think about a new vision for the future of the organization, and that starts with a search for new leadership,” said Shannon Wilder, current chair of the Chamber’s board of directors. “There’s a lot of excitement and interest with this search process, and I think it will result in a new level of support and value for our membership and the community.”

The qualifications for the position include: minimum of a Bachelor’s degree, with a Master’s degree desired, in the area(s) of public relations, association management, business and/or marketing from an accredited college or university or equivalent experience; minimum of five years of executive management leadership experience in the business, chamber of commerce, association, economic development and/or community development field, or a combination of these; a proven extended tenure in leading an organization through growth and change to achieve strategic objectives; and a proven track record of successfully working with a Board of Directors, governments, and members.

The president is responsible for the day-to-day operations of the non-profit business organization. Financial growth and management, human resources development, strategic planning and implementation are the key responsibilities of the president. The executive reports to the executive committee and board of directors through an annually elected chair.

“The final phase of the executive search process will be interviews with the most qualified candidates,” said Wilder. “We want to cast a broad net to find the most experienced individuals who have an interest in and the ability to grow our organization, and who understand what makes Athens such a unique and dynamic community.”

In addition to Wilder, who serves as director Office of Service-Learning at the University of Georgia, 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, Synovus; 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.

For more information regarding the executive search process for the president’s position with the chamber, please contact Tim Chason with The Chason Group at 404/735-0540. A position announcement can be found at A cover letter and resume may be submitted to The deadline for materials is April 13, 2018.