Chamber changes leadership

Published 10:42 am Tuesday, February 20, 2018

The Bell County Chamber of Commerce is seeing a change in its leadership.

The chamber’s board of directors voted Feb. 13 to approve Richard Smith as the new president. This change was necessary after Sheila Durham stepped down as president to accept the role as the new executive director for the chamber.

“I am honored to accept the role as president, for a second time, for the Bell County Chamber of Commerce…with the current leaders we have in place, I feel that we will make the chamber a better entity, serving the members to our best ability,” said Smith. “The chamber’s work is vital to the region’s business community and I look forward to working with the chamber’s board to grow the organization and to promote the interest and ensure the livelihood of local businesses.”

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Smith is the general manager of Food City of Middlesboro. This is his second time serving as president of the chamber.

Travis Moody, chair of the chamber board, said, “We felt that Richard would be a valuable asset to our endeavors…having served as past president, he will bring the experience needed to make the chamber successful…With his exceptional background and experience he is uniquely positioned to represent every member in Bell County; he is an experienced businessman, and a proven leader.” Moody added, “We are pleased to welcome Richard back to the chamber. We feel that with his leadership and proven track record he will keep the organization on a path of success.”

After a search for an executive director earlier this year, it was decided by the board to hire Durham, a familiar face in the community. Although most recently she has been serving as the president, she felt that her passion for the community could be better served as the executive director.

“I want to thank the chamber’s board of directors for their vote of confidence as I transition to the executive director role…I am very excited to work with this board as we determine our future and continue to grow our membership,” she said.

“She understands the dynamics of leveraging benefits with membership. With her familiarity with the community, she will play a key role in this organization,” Moody added. “Sheila has already hit the ground running, she’s got several events and ideas to help promote our members.”