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Chamber of commerce seeking new manager

Business group also working on new vision and mission statement

Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows’ business voice is in a better place, thanks to Jesse Sidhu. All the same, it’s saying goodbye to the executive-director who resigned earlier this month.

Sidhu has helped the Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows Chamber of Commerce get back on track, said president Terry Becker.

“Not only raising much needed funds over the past three years but also bringing the chamber out of a deficit position when he took over the job” she said in a news release.

“His expertise in event planning, business development and his ability to connect people will be something we will miss.”

Becker added that during the annual meeting in late 2011, the chamber was into its line of credit by $18,000.

That’s now been paid back and the chamber is back in the black.

Sidhu started in 2011 and launched the business summit which runs every November.

“That was one of the things that started when he was here.”

The annual Business Excellence Awards also raise funds for the organization. This Thursday, the chamber hosts former Vancouver Canuck Ryan Walter, now president of the Abbotsford Heat. Walter will speak about leadership at a chamber luncheon at the Pitt Meadows Golf Course.

The chamber holds four luncheons annually, compared to previous years, when the lunches were held on a monthly basis. Becker said the business group, which still has around 450 members, is working on a new mission and vision and hopes that membership can increase.

Becker also has a few of her own ideas she’d like explored and wonders why businesses have to renew their Maple Ridge or Pitt Meadows business licences every year. Why can’t they buy them for two- or three-year periods?

She noted the mobile business licence system instituted last year, allowing trades people to buy just one licence, even though they’re doing business in several cities in the Fraser Valley, is making it easier for them.

The previous chamber executive-director, Dean Alan Barbour resigned in July 2010.  He and a chamber employee were charged with fraud over $5,000 and forgery in January 2012. All the charges were stayed a year ago.

Past-president Ken Holland said Sidhu started at a critical time.

“Without his expertise in event planning, fund raising and relationship building, it would have taken much longer to bring us to where we are today. I believe it’s fair to say that Jesse played a key role in reconnecting the chamber of commerce with the members and the business community,” he said in a release.

The board soon will be advertising the executive-director position.


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