The Garden City Telegram
3/14/2013
OPINIONS AND COMMENTARY

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Local roots will benefit Dyer in new role as Chamber chief.

Steve Dyer won't need time to get familiar with the setting surrounding his new job.

Dyer's already well known in the community where he will become a key player in economic development initiatives as the new president of the Garden City Area Chamber of Commerce.

The 46-year-old native of Garden City previously served the local Chamber as membership director in the late 1990s and then vice president, before heading to Colorado in 2006 to direct the chamber in Highlands Ranch, a fast-growing area near Denver.

Among top challenges for Dyer in his new role will be re-energizing a Chamber membership that's dwindled over the years. More than 500 strong when Dyer left Garden City, the Chamber now reports 422 members.

So, there's plenty of room for improvement. Dyer helped grow membership in his Colorado community, which is encouraging.

Dyer's local knowledge and experience in Chamber operations should help in many ways moving forward. That said, he'll also be expected to deliver new ideas and pursuits needed to aid a diverse business community with unique challenges — from networking opportunities to professional development and other member benefits.

Business operators scrutinizing expenses in a tight economy, after all, often wonder what they're getting for a Chamber membership.

As Dyer gets out to visit with current and prospective members — a critical function for any Chamber president — he'll be in position to gather input needed to put the Chamber on a course that best serves the business community.

He also should hear what business operators expect in local efforts to encourage the kind of economic development and community growth that benefit all.

Dyer should be eager to work alongside every local economic development entity — Garden City Downtown Vision and the Finney County Economic Development Corp., as well as a Finney County Convention and Visitors Bureau that split from the Chamber in 2011.

Dyer won't need much time to get up to speed in his new duties, which is good. Considering the challenges ahead, the Garden City business community needs its new Chamber chief to dig in and get to work as quickly as possible.