After 18 years in the position, Lorna Hunt resigned as executive director of the Airdrie Chamber of Commerce Dec. 29, 2017. Hunt said her decision, while not an easy one, was made because it was simply time for a change.
“It was a long time to be in one job. It’s time for a change. It wasn’t a nine to five job – it was evenings, it was weekends, it was early mornings,” she said.
Hunt will leave a big hole in the organization, according to current Chamber president Linda Bruce.
“It’s a lot of historic knowledge. She was the face of the Chamber. She was the first executive director, but how many presidents have there been?” Bruce said.
Hunt was the Chamber’s original executive director, creating the job in 1999. The Chamber launched in Jan. 1973 but did not have permanent full-time stuff until Hunt was hired in 1999 and the organization moved into office space.
“Where we started out, it was a little office that was 20 feet by 20 feet and we shared with Alan Warnock,” Hunt said. “When we got the second location and it actually had a boardroom in it, I didn’t have to share with anybody, it was really something to celebrate.
“At one point we didn’t even have storage – there was storage at Community Links. I stuck a bunch of boxes in their storage room. I would find different locations for board meetings.”
The Chamber moved into a new location on Edwards Way in May 2015.
Hunt said she will miss all the volunteers she worked with during her tenure.
“They are the backbone of any non-profit organization. I had 18 different boards that I worked with and they were all volunteers,” she said. “My job was very goal-oriented and we could celebrate successes and our outcomes.”
The chance to celebrate milestones with Airdrie businesses is something else Hunt said she will miss.
“Openings, anniversaries, hearing about them moving to a new location – I’ll miss that as well,” she said.
“I will miss mentoring other chambers. I really enjoyed mentoring other chamber managers because I was kind of a veteran in what we call chamberland.”
Hunt said her proudest accomplishment as executive director was building services for Chamber members, including developing events such as Business After Hours and the Home and Lifestyle Show.
Hunt said when she first joined the Chamber, membership was 195; by the time of her resignation, membership was approximately 500.
The Airdrie Chamber of Commerce was awarded Chamber of the Year by the Alberta Chambers of Commerce in 2005 and Hunt was awarded the Executive of the Year award in 2007.
According to Bruce, a search for a replacement for Hunt is underway. In the interim, Marie Lauer, who was the membership services and events manager at the Chamber for a number of years, has stepped into the position. Bruce said she hopes a new executive director will be hired by the spring.