LEWISTON — More than 10 applications have come in for president of the Androscoggin County Chamber of Commerce.
A search committee is hoping to get more local and national candidates before it starts paring down the list early in the new year.
Chip Morrison, who’s served as president for almost 20 years, announced this year that he’s retiring next summer.
“The one thing that we’re not going to do is replace Chip,” said Clif Greim, president of Harriman Architects and Engineers and chairman of the chamber’s board.
They’re looking for someone who is relatable and innovative, he said, who can easily engage people, has ideas for growth and is comfortable fundraising.
“They need to be pretty outward going and feel comfortable in the public spotlight,” Greim said. “They’re representing a chamber that has the largest membership in the state,” at more than 1,400 members.
The search committee has reached out to national chamber executive networks and nonprofit networks along with posting the job in Maine. Applications started coming in in mid-November. There’s no firm date to close the application window, Greim said. The goal is to have the new hire in the job by May or June.
“The board has committed to making sure that whoever lands in that position is going to have a transition into our community with a bunch of us at their side,” Greim said. “Sometimes it’s good to take advantage of someone from away to bring in new and different ideas. But I’d be just as excited if someone that knew our community could come in as well.”
Art Boulay, head of Strategic Talent Management and a past board chairman who will help the committee narrow the field, said the market is tight for qualified candidates. Finalists are likely to have leadership experience at either another chamber or nonprofit or in private business.
“I’ve been very aware and trying to caution the board, no matter who we bring there’s going to be the unfortunate tendency to say, ‘Chip wouldn’t have made that decision,’ or ‘Chip didn’t do it this way,'” Boulay said. “It’s going to be a challenge in that sense, too. You really need a strong person. They’re going to have to have some thick skin to fill his shoes.”