The Lacey Chamber of Commerce is looking for a new executive director after Fred Wright, who accepted the job about eight months ago, announced his departure.
It was not immediately clear when Wright first contacted the chamber about his decision, but Wednesday was his last chamber lunch forum. He will remain with the organization through the end of the year.
During the forum, it was business as usual for Wright, who made no public mention about his decision.
But chamber board president Angelique Wilson did, presenting Wright with a gift basket as a token of the chamber’s appreciation
“We wish you all the best in your future endeavors,” she said, adding that she was going to miss working with him.
Wright later received a standing ovation from the chamber audience.
After the meeting, Wright said he had accomplished what he set out to do, changing the chamber internally so it could improve through measures such as upgrading the chamber’s website to further “set the stage for it to grow.”
Wright, 59, plans to spend more time with his wife, including plans to travel to Africa. He also plans to stay in the area and might look for a job in the private sector.
“I felt like I did what I needed to do,” he said about his time at the chamber.
The chamber is wasting no time in filling the position, Wilson said.
A search committee has been formed and it hopes to have a new hire by January.
The chamber is accepting applications. Contact information about the chamber can be found at laceychamber.com, she added.
Wright joined the chamber in March, replacing Tony Salas, who took the reins of the chamber in July 2011. Salas left the chamber to run a Rely Local business in Skagit County.
Salas took on the challenging job of replacing former executive director Jenny Thorsell, who later pleaded guilty to stealing $17,000 from the chamber over a three-year period.
Salas has said he stabilized the membership during his tenure and grew it to 358 members from 262.
Chamber board member Al Eckroth, who is on the search committee for the new executive director, said Wright did a super job.
“He did a lot in short order,” Eckroth said.Rolf Boone: 360-754-5403 firstname.lastname@example.org