The Roane County Chamber of Commerce board of directors has a new chair and members.
The board chair for the 2014-2015 year is Gail Lyke, vice president and branch manager at First Bank of Tennessee in Rockwood. Lyke officially took over July 17 from outgoing board chair Chris Ahler of Visionary Horizons Wealth Management at the Chamber’s first board meeting of the new fiscal year. Lyke previously served as the Chamber’s treasurer for the past two years and has served on the board since 2008.
Lyke was named the 2013 Chamber Woman of the Year. She is a graduate of Leadership Roane County and serves on the Leadership Roane County Alumni Association Board, as well as the Roane County Association of Women Executives, where she previously served as past president, and as a member of the Rockwood Civitan Club. Lyke also served on the Rockwood Planning Commission.
Lyke said her focus for the year will be to work with the board of directors and the president to “help facilitate the transition and changes that have been put in place to move the Chamber into a new value-added membership structure, encouraging both membership growth and retention.”
Chris Whaley, president of Roane State Community College, was approved as the board’s chair-elect during the meeting. Whaley has served on the Chamber board since 2013, when he served as chair for the Government Affairs Committee. After three years in private practice as an attorney, Whaley returned to the college in 1997 as program director of the A.A.S. Paralegal Studies Program. He was named dean of Social Science, Business and Education in 2002, and in 2010, was promoted to vice president of student learning and chief academic officer.
Whaley became Roane State’s fifth president on November 1, 2012.
The 2014-15 Chamber board also includes two new board members: David Bolling, city manager in Kingston, and Chris Marsalis, senior privacy program manager for the Tennessee Valley Authority. Three members retired from the board: Paul Cowell, Whitestone Country Inn; Ann Davis; and Ralph Best.
Bolling has been the Kingston city manager since 2013, returning to the area after serving as the town administrator in Newcastle, Maine. Prior to moving to Maine, Bolling served as the city manager of Oliver Springs for six years and on the Anderson County Commission for four years. Bolling has served on several boards in the area, including Anderson County Chamber of Commerce, Anderson County Tourism Council board of directors, East Tennessee Economic Council, and Tennessee Economic Development Council.
Marsalis, a graduate of Roane County High School, oversees the strategy and implementation of TVA’s Privacy Program, a key component of the Information Technology organization within TVA. Prior to his position at TVA, Marsalis had an 18-year career at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory, where he served as the deputy director for the U.S. Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge Office of Counterintelligence, earning a National Intelligence Meritorious Award by the director of national intelligence in 2008. Marsalis currently serves on the board of directors for the Princess Theatre Foundation.
Following the board meeting, the annual Chamber Retreat was held, providing members the opportunity to review the current committee structure, while working to identify a plan of work for 2014-15. Creating a new value-added membership structure that encourages both membership growth and retention was the overall plan for the coming year. During the retreat, the first project was to restructure the existing nine committees to provide more focus on the Chamber’s mission to add value to the membership. The Chamber programs will work under three main committees: 1) Chamber Operations, 2) Community Development and 3) Education and Workforce Development.
Finance, Membership, and Strategic and Business Planning will work under Chamber Operations; while Community Development will consist of Leadership, Housing, the Green Team, Government Relations and Tourism. The Teachers Supply Closet, TNAchieves, TN Scholars, High School Career Fair, and internships will fall under Education and Workforce Development.
“The Chamber Board is made up of people that can get things done in Roane County,” said Chamber President Wade Creswell. “They are working hard as a team, making great things happen for Roane County—fully supporting our business community and the Chamber’s mission to help our members’ grow their businesses.”
The Chamber is a partner in The Roane Alliance—Roane County’s economic development organization. The partners who operate under the Alliance umbrella along with the Chamber include the Industrial Development Board and Visitors Bureau. To learn more about how the Roane Alliance promotes economic development and seeks increased opportunities for all Roane County citizens, please visit www.roanealliance.org.