Cambridge Chamber welcomes new president

Eric Champion will begin April 11 in position

By Rachel Kytonen

A person with background in management, sales and non-profit organizations, has been hired as the new president of the Cambridge Area Chamber of Commerce.

The Cambridge Area Chamber Board of Directors and staff announced Friday, March 30, that Eric Champion has accepted the position of president of the chamber.

Eric Champion will begin as the new Cambridge Area Chamber of Commerce president on Wednesday, April 11.

The president position has been vacant since mid-February, due to the resignation of Nicki Klanderud who took a position with Cambridge Medical Center.

Champion moved to the area 11 years ago to open the new Menard’s store in Cambridge as general manager. He resigned his position with Menard’s, after 18 years with the company, in 2005.  Since then, he has been in sales and a sales manager with the Isanti-Chisago County Star and Advertiser.

Champion will start in his position at the chamber on Wednesday, April 11.

“I am very excited, but nervous, to start a new job,” Champion said this week  “After I received the news, I called my wife to let her know and we went out to dinner to celebrate. I am looking forward to talking to each and every member to get their ideas and thoughts on how to make Cambridge an even better community with the chamber’s help.”

Bob Roby, chair of the chamber board of directors, is looking forward to working with Champion.

“The Chamber Board is very excited about Eric joining us next week,” Roby said. “His background in marketing and management, and his established ties to the community provide him with unique strengths for the chamber president position.”

The Cambridge chamber is a working partnership of businesses, professional people and individuals with a passion for continued economic growth, prosperity and vitality in the Cambridge area.

The chamber has nearly 300 members that includes businesses and individuals from Cambridge, the surrounding area and greater East Central Minnesota. The chamber is a volunteer organization supported by annual membership investments.

Roby feels Champion will do well as president.

“Eric has already given the board his top priorities for his first few weeks as chamber president, and we expect that many in our community will be hearing from him very soon,” Roby said. “We are really looking forward to working with him … The first time I spoke with Eric on the phone, he volunteered to me how he loved the Cambridge area, and why he wanted to continue working here. This was very important to us.”

Champion’s goal is to continue the mission of the chamber.

“I plan to continue the hard work Nicki Klanderud and Linda Gerlach have put in working with the area businesses and city and county officials to connect, lead and grow Cambridge,” Champion said. “I would also like all business, both members and non-members, to know the numerous benefits of being a chamber member, and through that knowledge, grow the chamber.”

Champion feels his professional experiences have prepared him for his new position.

“I believe Menard’s prepared my management skills to be able to work with the various committees and volunteers,” Champion said. “My position with the Star gave me the ability to work with area business and created a lot of relationships with owners and managers.”

Champion felt it was the right time for a change in his career.

“I think this is going to be a great experience,” Champion said. “I am also a past president of the North Branch Rotary, so I have a little experience with running a nonprofit organization.  So between the management, sales, and non profit experience, this felt like a good fit. I’m looking forward to getting started. I love the fact that I have a new job, doing what I love to do; interacting with people.”

For more information on the Cambridge Area Chamber of Commerce visit www.cambridge-chamber.com or call 763-689-2505. The chamber office is located at 140 Buchanan Street North, Suite 174, in the City Center Mall in Cambridge.

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