Friendly City Chamber Begins Search for Next President

The Wheeling Area Chamber of Commerce plans to select its next president by mid-summer.

A search committee is accepting applications from those wanting to be the next chamber president, and the deadline to apply for the position is April 4, said John Culler, chairman of the committee.

Committee members will take about a month to consider the applicants, and will then schedule interviews. He expects the next chamber president to be hired sometime in June or July.

The search committee is looking for someone with a strong financial and business background who excels at fundraising endeavors, and who can also work well with community leaders, according to Culler.

The Wheeling Area Chamber of Commerce consists of more than 700 members, and the president reports to a 37 member board of directors.

“The job is a tough animal,” he said. “The person will have to be so multi-disciplined … Everyone is going to have one skill that is better for them. The person will need to have a multi-faceted background. It’s a tough job.”

And committee members “have no pre-conceived notion” as to whether the successful candidate should be someone local or from outside of the area.

Terry Sterling, who has served as chamber president for more than 19 years, was hired by the chamber in 1994 after serving as vice president of the Jefferson County Chamber of Commerce. Sterling retires effective March 31, and Culler will serve as interim president until a new president is in place.

He said the committee already received “several” – fewer than 10 – applications for the president’s job after an advertisement for the position ran in the Sunday News-Register on March 2.

Culler commended Sterling for having a “good, long career” at the chamber, and added the chamber has only had three executive leaders since it was formed in 1965. Preceding Sterling were Phil Day and Dick Kennedy.

“We’ve always had a stable leadership,” Culler said.

The chamber provides a full benefits package to its president, and salary will be determined based on experience, according to Culler.