KINGMAN - After weeks of searching, the Kingman Area Chamber of Commerce has found a successor to former president and CEO Beverly Liles.
The Chamber Board of Directors has selected Pamela A. Wilkinson of the American Canyon Chamber of Commerce in Napa, Calif., as its new president and CEO. Wilkinson is scheduled to start the job July 28, immediately succeeding interim president and CEO Zoe Taylor, who has been in the position since June 16.
Board President Wesley Hassell said Wilkinson was chosen from more than 60 applicants from around the country, of which nine were interviewed. Among the biggest things going in her favor, he said, were her enthusiastic attitude and the fact that she already has some family in the Kingman area.
"This person already loved Kingman, we didn't have to sell Kingman to her," Hassell said. "I think, No. 1, we were looking for experience and for someone who was enthusiastic and has a lot of energy and is ready to do a lot of things in a short amount of time."
Wilkinson, 51, has spent the bulk of her professional life in various business associations, starting out in non-profits before she was hired by numerous California dental associations.
"I worked for the California Dental Association, the American Dental Association and then the Orange County Dental Society," she said. "My job really was to mediate an amicable agreement between patients and doctors in lieu of litigation."
Wilkinson went on to be hired as senior vice president of the Huntington Beach, Calif., Chamber of Commerce, where she managed day-to-day affairs while the CEO went out into the community as the face of the chamber.
"She went out and made sure everyone knew the relevance of the chamber, who we are and what we did."
It was an experience that would later prepare Wilkinson for her own tenure in American Canyon, which she said has experienced many of the same economic setbacks that Kingman has due to the recession. She said her hope in Kingman is to help implement the Chamber Board's new direction as a more proactive, relevant organization in the current climate.
"I need to know what the business community wants, so one of my first orders of business will go to some of the bigger businesses and find out how relevant they think the chamber is," she said. "I need to find out what they like about the chamber and what, if anything, they would change."
Wilkinson added that she looks forward to relocating to the desert, citing its natural beauty and calming atmosphere. But she's looking even more forward to tackling the business challenges of Kingman and getting the city positioned for a new era of success.
"I'm super excited about this," she said. "This is going to be a challenge, and I'm up for it."
Hassell agreed that the Chamber Board has already set some high goals and objectives for the coming year, but he felt nothing but confidence in choosing Wilkinson to implement them.
"Upon meeting with her in person here in Kingman, her experience and her enthusiasm were overwhelmingly positive and exactly what the Chamber was looking for," he said. "With so many positive changes happening in the Chamber right now, I have no doubt that Pamela will be an enormous asset to the Chamber and the business community moving forward."