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Posted: January 27, 2014

Butler takes gavel from Adams

The Cranbrook and District Chamber of Commerce welcomed a new president during a special evening dinner meeting and Citizen of the Year celebration Jan. 24 at the Heritage Inn.

Dave Butler, right, accepted the president's gavel from Mike Adams.
Dave Butler, right, accepted the president’s gavel from Mike Adams.

Dave Butler, a senior leadership team member with Canadian Mountain Holidays, accepted the president’s gavel from outgoing chamber executive head Mike Adams (Taylor/Adams Accounting).

Butler thanked Adams for his leadership in 2013.

“Mike took us in some exciting new directions in the areas of governance of our organization, in connecting with our membership, and in advocating for the needs of business. He spent hundreds and hundreds of hours working on behalf of the business community and often ended up on the pointy end of the stick … while at the same time building a house, renovating a building and moving his business to new premises, along with being a husband and a father to four young daughters,” Butler said, adding, “I learned a lot from Mike in 2013, and despite what Jason Wheeldon might say, Mike’s shoes are big shoes to fill. A heartfelt thank you, Mike.”

While noting it is an honour to lead the chamber in 2014, Butler suggested to the 200 members in attendance that if they don’t like his leadership, they can blame Kootenay East MLA Bill Bennett.

“I see MLA Bill Bennett here tonight; I believe it was Bill who talked me into being part of the chamber’s tourism committee when he was president, so you can all blame this on Bill,” he said.

Cranbrook Mayor Wayne Stetski read the oath of office for Butler, right, and swore in the new board.
Cranbrook Mayor Wayne Stetski read the oath of office for Butler, right, and swore in the new board.

Cranbrook and the region are heading for better times, Butler continued.

“I am a firm believer that this city and this part of the Kootenay region is on the cusp of something very exciting … but we’re going to have to work very hard, together, to make that happen,” he said.

“I believe that a thriving business sector leads to a wide range of economic, social, cultural and environmental benefits in our community. I found a quote that I thought was appropriate. ‘If one looks far enough back into a city’s reason to be, it’s quite likely an entrepreneur was involved. People undertaking business ventures, taking advantage of the area’s land features, natural resource endowments or placement on travel routes were the first residents. So too, when small communities grow into larger towns and then into cities, it is entrepreneurial activity that makes it happen. The growth and development of cities, therefore, can never be taken for granted, for it is the individual decisions of entrepreneurs to start up, hire, invest and grow that translate into a city’s economic and social progression,’” he said.

The new chamber board was sworn in Jan. 24. Ian Cobb/e-KNOW
The new chamber board was sworn in Jan. 24. Ian Cobb/e-KNOW

Entrepreneurialism built Cranbrook, Butler reminded.

“While acknowledging the Ktunaxa peoples, who were here for thousands of years before Europeans arrived, we know that Cranbrook is here as a city because our very first entrepreneur  – Colonel James Baker – persuaded the CPR to build its Crowsnest Pass line through here more than 100 years ago, so without that first determined and visionary entrepreneur, we could just as easily be the Fort Steele and District Chamber of Commerce, meeting tonight in a very different location,” he said.

The chamber will be keying on three main areas in the coming year, basing their focus from a recent two-day strategy session using the results of the business survey completed this year, Butler said, listing: “Creating value and relevance for our members; Advocating to governments for the interests of business; Growing the local economy … building a clearer plan for our economic future around which we can all rally, and through that, building a strong sense of optimism about that future.

“With that direction firmly in place, my goals as president this year will be two-fold: ensuring that the chamber becomes more relevant to more businesses; and working collaboratively with the city (through Mayor Wayne Stetski, council and staff), the RDEK, the province, the college, the DBA, the Columbia Basin Trust and other key agencies and organizations to continue to improve the climate for business and grow our local economy.”

Butler pointed out that 2014 will also be interesting because of the municipal and school board elections taking place in November.

“Because there will be a municipal election in November, it will be an interesting year for the chamber, as it always is at this time in the political cycle. I can confirm for you that none of the directors on the chamber board will run for office this year … that’s critical to keep things clean,” he said, adding, “People will try to pull the chamber in a number of directions, and it will be our challenge – as a board and staff – to remain completely apolitical … to keep our eye firmly on the ball … providing value to our members, and growing our local economy.”

Butler urges chamber members to be involved with the organization and thanked those who offer so much.

“As the year unfolds, I encourage you to attend our luncheons and get involved in networking opportunities, in special events and on task forces when we engage on specific business policy issues. Along the way, we’ll ask you how we are doing, and I want you to tell us,” he stressed.

Lead photo: The 2014 Cranbrook and District Chamber of Commerce board of directors. At back, from left: Chris Thom; Brenna Baker; Mike Matejka; Diane Baher; Russell Workun; Ted Lauritsen. Missing: Lana Kirk, Ryan Gibbard and Brian Rhodes. Front row: Chamber executive for 2014 – Mike Adams, Jeanette Sissons, Dave Butler, Avana Gjendem and vice-president David Struthers.

Ian Cobb/e-KNOW

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