Chamber faces ‘challenges,’ seeks new full-time director

The Ocean Shores/North Beach Chamber of Commerce survived “a catastrophic 2015” and rebounded from that year’s financial losses to forge ahead with several new developments in 2016.

That was the overall assessment from Chamber board members earlier this month when the local organization held its annual dinner banquet and awards presentation at the Quinault Beach Resort and Casino.

Earning the Business of the Year award was North Beach PAWS, with president and founder Lorna Valdez accepting the honor.

Highlights of the evening included remarks by County Commissioner Vickie Raines, Ocean Shores Mayor Crystal Dingler and newly hired Grays Harbor College President Dr. James Minkler, making his first official visit to the North Beach.

With about 60 people present for the banquet, a theme of the night was “everybody pulling together.”

“We have a very special little town, and it’s filled with pretty awesome people,” said Chamber president Mike Doolittle of Playtime Family Fun Center.

Jim Donahoe of Windermere Real Estate, who has been in the area since 1962, gave an overview of the past year, which saw the Chamber rebound from financial losses suffered in 2015 largely due to the costs of assuming the organization and expenses of that year’s Sand &Sawdust Festival. That led to the departure of full-time Chamber executive director Douglass Orr, who was replaced by current interim director Mark Plackett.

“We had a couple of events that didn’t work,” Donahoe acknowledged, “and that were serious financial losses to us.”

Donahoe likened 2015 to a “hundred-year summer” with summer weather as nice as he could ever remember for tourism on the North Beach. “Tourists came to the beach in droves, so we had a record year for bringing people here,” Donahoe said.

This year, however, the weather was not as good and businesses have reported “mixed signals,” he noted.

Among the challenges for the Chamber listed by Donahoe was the need for a full-time executive director, and the organization moved the following day to announce the position was open for applicants.

“We have an immediate opening for a great person that can run the Chamber as our executive director,” Doolittle said in the announcement.

“We are looking for someone with excellent people skills, administrative management skills and financial management skills,” added Plackett. “We would like to have someone in place by the beginning of the new year.”

A job description and job application are available by email, or at the Chamber office. Email Chamber@OceanShores.org to receive a job description and application.