The Beatrice Area Chamber of Commerce has a new leader.
John Benedict will begin as executive president of the Chamber on Monday. His hiring was announced via news release Saturday by Deb Meyer, chairwoman of the Chamber Board of Directors.
Benedict’s resume touts an abundance of experience related to economic development. He has a degree from the University of Akron, with a double major in communications and political science. He also has a masters degree in business administration from Ashland University.
The position of Chamber president has been vacant since June, when previous president Lori Warner resigned to take a similar position at the South Sioux City Area Chamber.
Benedict, an Ohio native, most recently served as director of the Monroe Civic Center in Louisiana where he focused on economic impact and economic development for the town.
“I was between jobs, I looked at Beatrice, and this type of town was something I grew up on,” Benedict said. “I fell in love with the town, once I got here it was a good fit.”
Benedict moved to Beatrice on Nov. 1 and said he’s excited to begin work Monday and continue meeting people.
“I like the town, the people are what makes this town especially so attractive,” he said, noting his top priority will be to retain existing Chamber businesses and help to attract new ones. “I think being able to sell the town, the people and attract the business and of course retain the business we already have, it’s a challenge, but gosh it’s something I welcome.”
Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors executive committee member Deb Meyer said Benedict will continue the leadership developed by Warner.
"Our goal in finding a new Chamber president was to continue the growth put in place by the leadership of Lori Warner," Meyer said. She said Benedict will help the Chamber "continue working towards keeping the Beatrice area a vital, business-friendly community."
According to the Chamber’s news release, Benedict’s previous work experience includes sales and marketing for a small freight company, international sales manager and sourcing project manager (Southeast Asia) for The Hoover Company, and senior consulting for Bauhoff LLC,
“I’m a friendly guy, I have my door open, if you have any ideas come on over the Chamber of Commerce, come visit me and we’ll talk,” Benedict said. “My first order of business is visit the businesses, those that are members and those that are not members.”
Meyer said the Chamber conducted a nation-wide search fora new director and found Benedict to be a top candidate.
"His experience in community and business is important in keeping the Chamber strong," Meyer said. "We look forward to introducing him to Beatrice and to the future under his leadership."