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Woletz hired as chamber director

Lisa Woletz

The New Richmond Area Chamber of Commerce has a new executive director and it's someone familiar to the local business community.

Lisa Woletz, who is currently an advertising representative with the New Richmond News, was introduced as the newly hired director at the chamber's annual holiday social last week.

"I feel very humbled and honored to have been chosen for the job," Woletz said. "I'm extremely excited to get going."

According to Scot Destasio, manager of Family Fresh Market and incoming chamber president, a search and hiring committee was formed to help identify the top candidates for the position left vacant by Russ Korpela, who took a job with regional economic development organization Momentum West late in 2012.

A total of 39 people applied for the director position. The list of top candidates was narrowed to five and the committee of local individuals and businesses leaders conducted interviews with them all.

The committee then decided on two finalists, Destasio explained, and the Chamber Board of Directors conducted the final interviews with those two individuals.

"We are ecstatic with our choice for a new director," Destasio said. "We feel that Lisa is going to bring some new energy into the chamber, which is needed. And her background of working with small businesses is a big bonus."

Woletz said she was pleased to have been given the opportunity to help direct the chamber.

"I'm looking forward to working with individual businesses and understanding what it is they are hoping to achieve for the future," Woletz said. "As the new director, I want to help businesses grow, help bring new businesses to town and help improve the overall sense of community in New Richmond. Working for the greater good of the New Richmond businesses and residents is important for all involved."

Over the past few months, Woletz said she's developed a strong relationship with many business people in the community. Those connections will be invaluable as she transitions to her new chamber director role, she said.

"I have a passion for the work that chambers do," Woletz said. "That's what ultimately led me to apply for the position."

She said her background of working cooperatively with businesses and individuals to meet goals and promote a community will also be a big asset.

Woletz pointed to her recent involvement in the new "Windows of Christmas" and "Windows of Gifts" promotions, and the "Citizen of the Year" event, as examples of what she hopes to implement more of in the coming months.

"My hope is to make the chamber a larger group effort," she said. "We'll have more opportunities for businesses to be involved, added educational offerings and additional networking opportunities. Growing the New Richmond tourism efforts will also be an ongoing effort."

Woletz said the future prospects for New Richmond look bright, with new businesses coming to town in 2013 and a new transportation corridor being developed in the coming years. She said the proposed new GrandStay Hotel and Suites will open up new opportunities for New Richmond to host larger events, and existing restaurants and businesses will benefit as that and other new businesses locate here.

"And the new Stillwater bridge is going to open up incredible doors and opportunities for New Richmond," she said. "We'll have more traffic than ever coming through town."

Woletz began her advertising position with the New Richmond News this summer, after 25 years of sales and marketing experience. She has worked the past six years as a multi-media sales representative at the Red Wing, Minn. Republican Eagle newspaper.

She previously was employed as program manager for the Menomonie Area Chamber of Commerce, and she has been involved with other chambers throughout the area, Including Ellsworth and Red Wing.

Born and raised in Eau Claire, Woletz has lived in Ellsworth since 2002 with her two daughters, Molly and Maggie.