LEWISTON — After a search that drew more than 50 applications from across the country, the Lewiston Auburn Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce named Beckie Conrad its new president and CEO on Wednesday.

She’ll take over the post March 27.

Conrad, who lives in Auburn, said she originally moved to Lewiston to attend Bates College and has been committed to the community ever since.

“We live there; we love it there,” Conrad said. “I’ve tried to help in so many ways through volunteer work — now I can get back in the professional context, put my shoulder to the wheel and keep moving great things forward.”

Conrad owned Austin’s Fine Wines and Foods in downtown Auburn for 20 years with her husband, Austin Conrad Jr. Her volunteer work has included being past chairwoman of L/A Arts and Androscoggin Home Care & Hospice and current chairwoman of the Lewiston-Auburn Economic Growth Council’s board.

“The chamber president has had an ex officio role on the (LAEGC) board, so one of the first things the board and I will need to talk about is whether that makes sense going forward, to be in the chair’s role,” Conrad said.

She’s a graduate of Bates, where she later worked in the administration. Conrad is vice president for institutional advancement at Maine College of Art in Portland, a position she’ll leave next month.

Conrad is taking over the chamber president’s post from Matt Leonard who resigned abruptly in November.

Conrad said she’s planning to do lots of listening and reconnecting.

“It’s been a longtime goal of mine to work where I live,” she said. “The last couple of years I’ve just felt like it’s time to go back and to find something I can contribute to. It’s a great match for me. If I have an overarching goal, it’s to really engage the membership and grow the membership and have people understand the value of the chamber, join the team and keep the wonderful pace up.”

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Beckie Conrad

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