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Chamber Welcomes New Board Leadership for 23-24 Fiscal Year

July marks the beginning of a new fiscal year, and the Chamber is excited to welcome new leadership to the Board of Directors to help guide the organization’s work in serving the Santa Maria Valley community.

“The Santa Maria Valley Chamber brings our businesses together and helps solve the challenges our community is facing,” explained incoming Board Chair Paul Cook. “I’m looking forward to serving as Board Chair for an organization that plays such a vital role in our community.”

Cook, who is the President/CEO of CoastHills Credit Union, will serve a one year term as Chamber Board Chair. Cook says one of the areas he hopes to have the organization focus on is making sure all people feel welcome and included in the Santa Maria Valley community.

“The Chamber is a great place to help people focus on where we agree and how we can come closer together by appreciating how similar we all are,” Cook explained. “Once we connect on our similarities, we can reach out and appreciate our differences and experience these differences make the community stronger. When we do this, we grow in respect within our community. We move on from respect to belonging and working together to achieve the Chamber’s vision of Santa Maria being central to the well-being of our families, business, and activity.”

Other newly elected Chamber Board members include Kelsi Fitzgerald, CFO for Veritas Innovative Pest & Termite Solutions, and Ryan Swack, who is the Regional Manager at Best Western Big America. They will each serve three year terms on the Chamber Board of Directors.

“Our local Chambers are very important for our tourism and business needs. They work closely with City officials, and educate businesses on any possible legislation that may impact them,” Fitzgerald said. “I’m excited to be on the Chamber Board because I love our community and want to be a part of this work and plans for growth, education, and other areas impacting our community.”

Swack says he believes his expertise in hospitality will bring an important perspective to the Chamber Board.

“I also enjoy volunteering my time to great organizations that provide so much to our local community,” Swack explained. “As a Chamber Board member, I look forward to contributing in any way I can to make our community thrive.”

Additional new Board members include:

  • Jeff Buckingham, Senior Director of Business Solutions, Astound Business Solutions Powered by Digital West

  • Antonio Garcia, Superintendent, Santa Maria Joint High School District

  • Joshua Sahagun, Area Manager, Luttrell Staffing Group

A full list of the Chamber Board of Directors can be found HERE.

While Chamber Board members come from diverse backgrounds and perspectives, they share a desire to serve and improve the local Santa Maria Valley community.

“One of the greatest rewards we can ever feel in life is being a part of something that is more than ourselves,” explained Cook. “This is exactly what happens when we give one of our most precious resources, time, to the community where we live. Strong communities exist because people invest their time into the community. If you want your community to be more, stronger, better, and vibrant then as an individual we need to be doing something where we give of our time into our communities. The Chamber is a great place to start because you learn of the needs in the community and can align your individuality to the need and become a part of something more and experience one of the greatest rewards in life. Knowing you made a difference.”

If you are interested in getting involved with the Chamber, our committees are a great place to start. Take the first step by filling out the Chamber’s commi:ee interest form at SMVChamberCommittee.

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