St. Clair Area Chamber of Commerce

After about a three-week wait for a stamp of approval from the state, the St. Clair Area Chamber of Commerce finally has its new executive director.

Board President Nathan Tate announced late Thursday that Rebecca Blankenship, who was serving as a part-time assistant in the Chamber office, officially has been promoted to the executive director’s chair. She was the search committee’s top choice, Tate said.

The search committee was comprised of Chamber board members.

The board offered the position to Blankenship in mid-July and she accepted at that time, pending approval from the Missouri Department of Revenue.

The state had to conduct background checks since the executive director also will be the contract manager of the license office and is required to work a few hours a week there.

Many of Missouri’s license offices are set up that way. St. Clair’s Chamber of Commerce was awarded the license office contract for another four years earlier this year.

“I’m excited we’ve finally got our new director,” Tate told The Missourian on Friday morning. “We’re anxious to move forward with Chamber business.”

During the Chamber’s July membership meeting at the end of the month, Tate told those in attendance the state contract administrator had everything on his desk to review, but no decision had been made at that time.

“We’re just waiting for that approval,” he said during the membership meeting. “We can’t release the name until we have that approval.”

Throughout the hiring process, Tate and other board members stressed they wanted someone in the director’s chair who had local ties. Blankenship fills that need as she lives in St. Clair.

The Chamber’s past two directors were not local and commuted to and from St. Clair. Board members felt that hurt the organization’s connectivity to the community.

“We were told by the state that they were more than happy with Rebecca’s qualifications and experience,” Tate said. “We can’t wait to start moving forward again.”

The search committee was charged with finding the new executive director in June after Angela Crawford abruptly resigned in late May.

Crawford had been the St. Clair Chamber’s executive director for about 2 1/2 years before she suddenly turned in her resignation to the board during its May meeting. She gave no notice.

Bob Swank had served as the Chamber director for about a year prior to Crawford. Swank replaced Terry Triphahn, who had served in the position for several years.

Blankenship will not start her new job until Sept. 15, however, for personal reasons.