Ely chamber close to naming new director

Keith Vandervort

ELY – The search for a new director for the Ely Chamber of Commerce is almost complete, according to Bill Forsberg Sr., president of the organization. “We had a good number of qualified applicants and had many good interviews,” he said. “We expect to have an announcement next week.”

Chris Eilrich, a member of the chamber’s board of directors who also served on the search committee tasked with filling the shoes of outgoing director Linda Fryer, said, “We are almost there. We should have more news next week.”

Fryer’s 25-year career as the director of the chamber will come to a close at the end of April.

Jim Buchner, also a member of the search committee, said the group is “dotting the I’s and crossing the T’s and we are very close.” He also was impressed with the quality of applicants for the leadership position. “The more applicants you get the better the chances of finding the right person,” he said.

Under Fryer’s leadership, the chamber has grown from about 70 members when she started in 1988 to over 300 members today. That growth is due, in large part, to the growing reputation of the Ely Chamber as one of the most effective chambers of commerce in the region.

The chamber’s promotional efforts have only furthered that reputation, particularly the series of April Fools Day promotions that have attracted national media attention.

Her last prank, the announcement that Ely had banned all social media within its boundaries, may have been the best. A major internet news site, Huffington Post, and NBC Nightly News were among the national exposure generated this year. Of course, the spoof was picked up in the state and Midwest and generated major coverage from most news outlets in the region, especially in the Twin Cities.

A retirement party is scheduled for Fryer on May 2 at the Grand Ely Lodge.


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