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On the Town: Chamber of commerce welcomes new board, showcases renovated offices

On the Town: Chamber of commerce welcomes new board, showcases renovated offices
Darin Chase received the chairman's gavel from Gema Sanchez at last week's reorganization of the Burbank Chamber of Commerce's executive board. (David Laurell / Burbank Leader)

Following an open-house tour of the newly refurbished offices of the Burbank Chamber of Commerce, the organization’s chief executive, Tom Flavin, welcomed more than 100 members and guests to see the installation of the chamber’s 2019 executive committee and board this past Thursday.

“This year, we celebrate our 99th year of service to the Burbank business community, and the first year of the Better Burbank Corp., that was established as an economic development affiliate of our chamber,” Flavin said.

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“We selected that name because, in 1948, the year the chamber built and moved into this building, [Better Burbank] was our slogan,” he added.

Chamber of Commerce staff members Tom Flavin, from left, Chris Hunter and Christina Ellixson welcomed over 100 members and guests to last week's reorganization ceremony.
Chamber of Commerce staff members Tom Flavin, from left, Chris Hunter and Christina Ellixson welcomed over 100 members and guests to last week's reorganization ceremony. (David Laurell / Burbank Leader)

At the conclusion of Flavin’s welcoming remarks, he introduced outgoing board chairwoman Gema Sanchez, who reflected on her year of leadership.

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Among the numerous highlights of her term, Sanchez referenced a successful fundraising gala, the launch of a new website and higher social media presence, the completion of a capital improvement program, the creation of new revenue streams, and membership building.

“This is a day for us to celebrate the accomplishments of our outgoing leadership, and welcome those who will lead us onto the year of the beginning of our second century,” said Sanchez as she honored outgoing board members Michael Cusumano, Sunder Ramani, Eric Foster, Keith Sanneman, Ken Nielsen, Leo Divinsky and Terry Walker.

Karen Volpei-Gussow, left, who will serve as the chamber's 2020 chairperson, with Vice Mayor Sharon Springer.
Karen Volpei-Gussow, left, who will serve as the chamber's 2020 chairperson, with Vice Mayor Sharon Springer. (David Laurell / Burbank Leader)

After being administered the oath of office by Vice Mayor Sharon Springer, Darin Chase, who will serve as the chamber’s 2019 board chairman, lauded his predecessor.

“I come in behind great leadership,” said Chase, who works as a broker with Re/Max Town Center.

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“I am not a guy who is big on themes, so I won’t have one for my term. But, my goal is to build on where Gema and the previous board have taken us, and to keep the ship going in the right direction,” he added.

Along with Chase, the chamber’s 2019 executive committee will be made up of Karen Volpei-Gussow as chair-elect, Chuck Rosen as treasurer, Janet McIntyre St. Clair, who will serve as the vice president of marketing, and Steve Mora as secretary.

Among the outgoing board members honored for their service were Ken Nielsen, from left, Sunder Ramani, and Eric Foster.
Among the outgoing board members honored for their service were Ken Nielsen, from left, Sunder Ramani, and Eric Foster. (David Laurell / Burbank Leader)

Among those will serve on the 2019 board are Charles “Bud” Alleman, Ernie Burger, Mike Nicosia, Michael Hastings, Marisol Espinosa, Barry Burnett, Vic Georgino, Jim O’Neil, Jack O’Neill, Erik Greeny, Mike Thomas, Chad Kelman, Michael Walbrecht, Christine Rodriguez, David Knight and Nazen Armenia.

Established in 1920, the Burbank Chamber of Commerce works to promote economic growth and prosperity, serves as a strategic partner in initiatives that enhance and preserve the quality of life within Burbank, and provides valued services to the group’s highly diverse business members.

David Laurell may be reached by email at dlaurell@aol.com or (818) 563-1007.

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