Chamber elects new executive

Executive members of the Ponoka and District Chamber of Commerce stopped for a picture after the first meeting of 2011. Standing: Judy Dick

Executive members of the Ponoka and District Chamber of Commerce stopped for a picture after the first meeting of 2011. Standing: Judy Dick

By CHARLES TWEED

It was changing of the guard at the Jan. 18 Ponoka and District Chamber of Commerce annual general meeting.

President Darren Galan passed the gavel to Greg Braat, who was acclaimed.

“I’m really happy to get the opportunity to contribute to bringing more business and keeping local business in town, so that we spend our money here and support our local people,” said Braat, who has served on the chamber for three years and owns The Co-operators in town.

The last 12 months has been busy a year for the chamber, one that saw them move locations within the community.

“It was a big and very successful move to the visitor information centre — and our number of memberships is really quite strong for a small community. Whenever we go knocking on doors looking for volunteers or money, we get the support that we need to make events happen,” said Darren Galan. “I want to thank all my executive and Lana (Johnson), the executive manager, and all the chamber members for helping out and pitching in to make sure all the events are a success.”

Sarah Kraft, the economic development officer for the town, was the guest speaker and focused on the creation of the Angel Investor List for Ponoka. The list would comprise of a group of businesses who could help entrepreneurs get their ideas off the ground through a variety of support measures.

“One of the biggest impediments to small business is generally a lack of three things — money, resources and experience. We want to set up the groundwork and create a pathway, so that people who have had success owning a business in the community can have the chance to invest in others’ success,” said Kraft.

The chamber will welcome back Linda Steinmann as treasurer, while Lana Johnson stays on as the executive manager. Directors back for another year are Melodie Helm, Judy Dick, Kris Mickelson, Theresa Turner, Brenda Raab, Jesse Pei and Marion Raugust. New directors are Pam Baron, Inger Laing, Gwendy Donegani and Dan Lea.