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October 20, 2017

Bethel Area Chamber promotes from within for new leader

Courtesy / Bethel Area Chamber of Commerce
Courtesy / Bethel Area Chamber of Commerce
Jessie Perkins, who has served five years as the Bethel Area Chamber of Commerce's marketing and events manager, has assumed the leadership duties, taking over the reins from Executive Director Robin Zinchuk.
Courtesy / Bethel Area Chamber of Commerce
The Bethel Area Chamber of Commerce’s Executive Director Robin Zinchuk, a 31-year veteran, has passed on those duties to her co-worker of five years, Jessie Perkins. Zinchuk will remain on staff with the title of outreach and development director.

The Bethel Area Chamber of Commerce's Executive Director Robin Zinchuk, a 31-year veteran, has passed on those duties to her co-worker of five years, Jessie Perkins.

As announced at its annual meeting and dinner on Thursday, Zinchuk will remain on staff with the title of outreach and development director.

"I have thoroughly enjoyed leading this organization for more than three decades," Zinchuk stated in a news release announcing the leadership change. "We have seen a tremendous amount of change in the past 30 years, and the organization has grown as we have sought to meet the needs of our growing and ever-changing group of entrepreneurs. With the support of hundreds of individuals who have given of their time as board members and volunteers, as well as the tremendous generosity of business sponsors, the organization has never been stronger."

Zinchuk recalled that when she arrived in Bethel in 1984 with her husband Doug to open the Chapman Inn Bed & Breakfast, the chamber was led by a dedicated group of volunteers, with a telephone answering machine and a post office box. The area's economy was beginning to shift to a more service- and visitor-based economy with the accelerating growth of Sunday River Resort and the businesses were seeking a more active, professional organization to help promote the area.

"I was poised to help and accepted the part-time job, while raising my young family and running a business," she said.

Zinchuk told those attending the chamber's annual meeting that some of her proudest achievements include helping to put Bethe on the map with the 1999 world-record snowman and 2008 world's tallest snowwoman, being one of the founding organizers of the Mountain Explorer winter shuttle and helping to create the very successful Bethel Area Nonprofit Collaborative.

"I have been preparing for the past few years for my eventual stepping down as executive director, but I truly have the desire to continue to serve the organization and the area in a new, more part-time capacity," she said. "Jessie is a very talented individual who has been quick to learn all the many facets of the chamber's operation. I trust that with the board of directors' and members' support, Jessie will be an excellent leader for many years to come."

A step up for the new director

Perkins brings to the position five years' experience as the chamber's marketing and events manager to the position. She is a graduate of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce's Institute of Organization Management and lives in Bethel with her husband, Gabe Perkins.

"Since coming to Bethel as a child to visit my grandparents, aunts, and uncles, I have always believed Bethel is the best small town there is," she said. "I am honored to take on this position and couldn't have asked for a better model and mentor than Robin."

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