Interim Greater Beaumont Chamber of Commerce President Andy Dill talks about future of organization after resignation of former president

Since the resignation of former Greater Beaumont Chamber of Commerce (GBCOC) president Regina Lindsey on Wednesday, March 28, the search for a new leader of the non-profit, which is crucial in the promotion of its business members, has begun its search for a new president.

In the meantime, Andy Dill, who was president of the Community Chamber of Commerce of East Montgomery County for more than 14 years, has taken over the helm as interim president for the Beaumont Chamber.

The Business Journal had an opportunity to speak to Dill, of Montgomery, about the future of the Beaumont Chamber in an exclusive interview Monday, April 23.

“I was hired as the interim president and CEO to come in on a part-time basis,” Dill said. “I will generally be here 2-3 days a week. Ana Pereda, VP of Economic Development at GBCOC, will be in charge when I’m not here.”

“I see my role as to provide some leadership and direction,” Dill continued, “to give the staff encouragement, to be a source for them — someone they can bounce ideas and concerns off of. I don’t have all the answers, but I’m certainly willing to listen to them and their ideas.”

Dill said one challenge for the Chamber is that a majority of the staff is relatively new, with the longest tenured employee at 16 months.

“They’re all new,” he said. “With that newness comes challenges. Stepping into positions, roles, activities and events that they’ve never coordinated before and relying on some awesome, awesome volunteers, who make these things successful.”

Dill praised his staff by pointing out that both LobsterFest and Navigating the Neches were both successful events that GBCOC staff and its volunteers played major roles in.

Members of the GBCOC, such as the Golden Triangle Emergency Center (GTEC), continue to receive the Chamber’s support. There were over 70 people at the new Beaumont location’s ribbon cutting on Tuesday, April 17, Dill said.

“Yes, this was some of their own people, but the Chamber volunteer core was there in huge numbers,” he said, adding that the only other ribbon cutting he’d been to larger than GTEC’s was when Walmart opened a remodeled store in Porter, Texas.

“I think every employee that wasn’t at a cash register was in the picture,” Dill said.

While there have been many positives for the Chamber recently following Lindsey’s resignation, there is still work that needs to be done as well.

“I have a long to-do list,” Dill said. “Many of those things are very quick fixes.”

Dill said he is conducting one-on-one meetings with each member of his staff.

“They are excited about the future and working with new members,” he said. “Transition, yes, can be difficult, but it also can have positives too, and we’re looking at the positives. While I’m here, as the search gets underway for a new president/CEO, we want to be able to, perhaps, address some issues that may not have been handled properly or in a way that was smooth. We want to see if we can correct some of those, so that when this new person comes in, he’s not so daunted.”

The search committee, who will select the new Chamber president, includes both board members from GBCOC as well as other area professionals, who are non-board members.

“They will work very diligently … (to select) the best of the best,” Dill said. “It’s a leadership position not only for the Chamber, but also for the community and this person needs to have some good background with a Chamber, economic development, community development, membership growth, membership retention, advocacy — all of these things are very important and they need have experience leading in these kinds of efforts.”

Dill said the role of the Greater Beaumont Chamber of Commerce President is one of the best when it comes to chamber president jobs.

“Greater Beaumont Chamber (president) is a good job to have,” he said. “It’s a great community. It’s part of a great region. You’ve got good partners in business and industry. … It is a position that has prestige in the state. … The Greater Beaumont Chamber is highly respected.” According to its website, GBCOC is a Five-Star Accredited Chamber, representing the top 1 percent of chambers in the United States.

“That historical tradition needs to continue,” Dill said.