The Pahrump Valley Chamber of Commerce has hired Chris Erwin, director of marketing from MasterTech Media, as its new chief executive officer.
Erwin was chosen after the chamber’s search committee held interviews last weekend, then a follow-up interview on Tuesday, with each lasting an hour. He replaces Salli Kerr, who stepped down as CEO earlier this year but was recently elected to the chamber’s board of directors.
Now with the process over, Erwin is looking forward to the new position and is prepared to put in the hard work necessary to be successful.
“I’m really excited,” Erwin said. “I think it’s going to be both rewarding and a challenge at the same time.”
Erwin will begin his duties as CEO on Monday, where he already has tasks ready to tackle, mainly involving helping chamber members understand what they get for being part of the organization.
“The big thing is that we really want to contact all members, current, former and prospective and let them know about our goals,” he said. “I’m willing to have those conversations with all members and non-members about what we’re going to be doing differently.
“Our focus is back on the value of business in the chamber. I think the more the chamber can do to create value, we can show them you paid X amount for your chamber membership, and here is what we’re doing to show you that we appreciate the money, and it goes toward the community. We also want them to feel good about making that payment.”
Aside from introducing himself to chamber members and those who could be in the future, Erwin has a list of priorities he wants to initially attain.
“Three things, one is that I am truly passionate about looking at ways to create value for chamber membership dues,” he said. “Two is how much value can we offer to our chamber member. How many jobs can I help businesses fill or help locals obtain. Three is how many economic development projects can the chamber help bring into the town.”
Working with Internet marketing for various companies, including Victoria’s Secret and Vonage among them, Erwin has a degree in marketing, which he thinks will come in handy as CEO.
“A lot of my experience has been with helping customers find ways to increase sales,” he said. “I would kind of consider myself a jack of all trades when it comes to business management. I have a lot of experiences with a lot of different things and I think that will play a role in helping us make educated decisions on the direction of future chamber projects.”
With various large events that the chamber runs throughout the year, including the Fall Festival, which they took over last year, although he’s not as seasoned as some chamber members are now with event planning, Erwin thinks his past in marketing will help the chamber draw in even more people than in years past.
“A little bit, yes,” he said about his background in event running. “It’s not to the extent that the chamber has done for the last many years, I think I have some learning to do on that front. I’m confident that over time the chamber will be creating a marketing medium that will allow us to get the word out about events and businesses in a very efficient fashion, using digital marketing to do it.”
Contact reporter Mick Akers at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow @mickakers on Twitter.