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A chamber evolves - The baton is passed this week as Williamson County Chamber team is introduced

Jerry Sharber

Brad Dunn

Former Franklin Mayor Jerry Sharber was at the top of the list of several members of the search committee who named him to be the interim general manager, according to Williamson County Chamber Chairman of the Board Brad Dunn.

Both men have monumental tasks ahead of them, but the are poised and ready to take on the challenge, as the evolution of a chamber – a melding of three county chambers – become reality and takes a physical appearance next month.

“Jerry will work first on building a cohesive team and staff,” Dunn said, indicating that all current chambers’ staff will transition into the new organization.

Of Sharber’s interim position, Dunn said, “The plan was to hire an interim general manager to allow for the search process to occur.” In a phone interview earlier this week, he said, “It could take six months; it could be quicker.”
The search details are still being finalized, but Dunn confirmed that a professional search agency will be hired and a national search will be conducted.

Dunn praised the efforts of all involved, including the three chambers – Brentwood Cool Springs, Williamson County-Franklin and Cool Springs chambers – as the process unfolded. He also offered gratitude to the members of the Transition Board and others involved in the task of making a smooth changeover from three to one.

‘End of an era’

Tuesday’s Williamson County-Franklin Chamber of Commerce luncheon marked the end of an era. With the yearlong unification process of the three chambers within the county complete, with the first meeting of the Williamson County Chamber to be held Monday, Oct. 15.

“This is truly a beginning, not an end,” said Dunn, during the Williamson County-Franklin Chamber’s luncheon meeting held earlier this week.

Dunn equated the process of uniting three functioning chambers into one with building an airplane while flying it.

“All three chambers made it to the finish line with a [member] approval rate of more than 95 percent,” Dunn said as he referred to the “first pilot” of the new Williamson County Chamber as Sharber, as Interim General Manager to “insure a healthy transition from old to new.”

“We are doing something historic in the community,” Sharber said. “It speaks to the energy, enthusiasm and desire s of the business community.”

After passing the gavel to Dunn, Chamber President Judy Hayes said, “Our best days lie ahead.”

Sen. Johnson honored

Amid the theater of the day at the Williamson County-Franklin Chamber luncheon Tuesday, Jim Brown, State Director of the National Federation of Independent Business presented Sen. Jack Johnson with the NFIB Guardian of Small Business award for his pro-business legislation to benefit small businesses.

“He brings a positive approach to legislation,” Brown said. “As a legislator – he’s as good as it can get for small business.”

As a small business owner himself, Johnson knows well the issues and the regulations heaped on small business owners, Brown told the room filled with business owners. 

During the last session of the General Assembly Johnson sponsored five pieces of pro-business legislation – three unemployment bills and two tort reform bills.

“When he sponsors a bill, he is well prepared and very persuasive – but civil,” Brown lauded.

“Small businesses are the backbone of our country,” Johnson said as he accepted the award. “With the governor, I will continue to work for small business.”

Posted on: 9/27/2012


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