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Doug Baxter, president of the Flagler County Chamber of Commerce & Affiliates for the last five-and-a-half years, confirmed on Wednesday that he’s moving on.
“I’m pursuing other opportunities,” Baxter said in a phone interview shortly after his resignation. “As one door closes, another one opens. I feel like I’ve done a lot of good here over the last five-and-a-half years.”
Baxter's last day will be Nov. 30.
Executive Vice President Rebecca DeLorenzo will take over as interim president.
Garry Lubi, chairman of the board of directors, said Baxter played a key role in turning the chamber into the largest member organization in the county.
“Since 2007, he has demonstrated a passion and commitment to supporting the local business community,” Lubi said. “We value his contributions to our chamber, and wish him the very best in his future endeavors.”
As of Wednesday afternoon, the chamber had about 820 business members.
Baxter reflected on some of the positives that he has been a part of over his tenure, including growing membership, adding three leads groups and establishing a radio show.
“Elevating the chamber’s stature in the community,” he said, adding that it came as a team effort by the staff, the members and the board of directors.
Baxter said he isn't exactly sure what's next for him.
First, he plans to spend time with his family, including his son, who will be visiting from China.
“(I’ll) start the ball rolling maybe in the New Year,” he said. “I have some opportunities that I’ll pursue.”
DeLorenzo, who was hired the day before Baxter was in 2007, has served as executive vice president since 2008.
“(This will) allow us time to kind of evaluate everything in terms of what direction we want to go,” Lubi said, of the transition. “Rebecca has done a great job managing the day-to-day operations for us for the last few years, and we believe she’ll do a great job in this interim role as well.”
Lubi said Wednesday that there’s no timetable for announcing a permanent president, although he didn’t rule out DeLorenzo fulfilling that role in the future.
“Like anybody in a leadership role, they’re going to have their stamp, their style and their approach,” he said, of DeLorenzo.
Lubi said the strategic plan the chamber conducted in January, which included input from the community, has set a “great foundation” for the chamber to move forward.
The chamber will take a similar approach in January when Scott Sowers, of S.E. Cline Construction, takes over Lubi’s position as chairman.
Baxter said he expects DeLorenzo to continue moving the chamber in a positive direction.
“We’ve all worked together to make this organization better, and I’m proud of what I’m leaving,” he said.