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Chamber fills CEO vacancy with familiar face

The Pahrump Valley Chamber of Commerce has an enthusiastic Chief Executive Officer in new hire Salli Kerr. Kerr’s first day in her new position was Monday and she will meet with her board for the first time today.

Kerr will replace Mike Dreyer who handed in his resignation about six weeks ago. He is given credit by his staff for increasing membership and bringing Pahrump its first Balloon Fest. Kerr said she intends to keep those goals with the addition of more events.

“I want to be the face of the chamber,” she said. “We need someone to be out there, talking to the businesses and letting them know the value of chamber membership.”

She said some of the advantages include coordination between members to provide services to each other. “The networking capabilities are enormous. If one of our members needs staff training, we can help them through NyE Communities Coalition or through the other local assistance programs. I can work with Cassandra Selbach and the Nye County Rural Economic Development Authority (NCREDA). Her office is right down the hall.”

When it comes to the subject of helping bring new businesses into the area, Kerr deferred to NCREDA, but said, “For the chamber to have a relationship with the county commission might give us a bigger voice.”

“I love Pahrump. It’s my home and I would like to see the community come together.”

The chamber also offers advertising on its website, a weekly emailed newsletter and advertising in the monthly printed version of the chamber “Vision.”

Kerr said she would like to add to the number of chamber-sponsored events. “I’m considering a home and garden expo. I think the market is different. Members can demonstrate everything from concrete and paver patios, to furnishings, outdoor kitchens and barbecues, landscaping and plants, pottery, xeriscape materials, awnings and pools … the list goes on.” She said it could be a huge event and the exposure for the businesses enormous.

Kerr said she plans to get a community calendar organized. “It would be nice for everyone to know when events for businesses and charity organizations to be able to plan events without scheduling them on the same dates or scrambling to change the date of an event.”

An advertisement for the position ran in at least one and the chamber board worked with NyECC Career Connections as part of the hiring position.

“I was approached by someone about the position. They said they thought I’d be perfect for it. So, I applied through NyECC and was called in for an interview with the board of directors.”

Kerr said she gave her notice to her uncle, Darrell Strain on July 18. Kerr managed both of Strain’s businesses here. He owns Arnie’s Cocktail Lounge and the Hideaway. Kerr said she had worked for Strain for 11 years but managed the bars for the past five years.

“It was perfect timing, too,” Kerr said. “Darrell is back in Pahrump from Las Vegas and wants to go back to running the bars.”

Kerr has also co-owned Lifesaver Pool Products with her husband, Bill, in California and she was a certified paralegal in Montana.

She has run an eBay business for a thrift shop here and sold manufactured housing for Sun Valley Homes.

The Kerrs own a small farm on the north end of the valley where they garden, have a cow or two, raise chickens and relax. The couple moved here in 2002 and Kerr said she knew the first time she saw the town that here is where they “are supposed to be.”

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