Janie Odgers is in business as the new executive director for the Kenai Chamber of Commerce.
Chamber President Tim Navarre said last Wednesday that Odgers was named from a pool of 22 applicants to fill a vacancy that had gone unfilled since May. Navarre introduced Odgers at last week's regular meeting of the chamber.
"We're very excited to have her with us," Navarre said.
Odgers is no stranger to the Kenai area. A Sterling resident, she also has lived in North Kenai and once ran a business in Kenai.
"I've been around for a while," said Odgers, a 20-year resident of the peninsula. "I've always liked Kenai."
She said Friday that she's excited about taking over at the chamber and already looking forward to some of the group's biggest events of the year.
"I'm ready to take on the job. We've got our biggest event of the year coming up, and I'm already getting ready for that," she said.
Odgers said she's been busy planning for the chamber's upcoming Wine and Beer auction, as well as the annual Christmas Comes to Kenai event, now only a few months off.
Having been self-employed as an events and travel planner for several years, Odgers said the work she'll be doing at the chamber should be right in line with her area of expertise.
She's also been getting acquainted with area business leaders and chamber members. All this work, she said, has meant she's been getting into town early and staying late.
"I've been burning up the pavement," she said.
Odgers credited Sue Carter, who served as the chamber's interim director, for helping make the transition a smooth one.
"She's just been a wealth of information," Odgers said of Carter, herself a former executive director of the chamber. "She's been introducing me to everyone around town."
Last Wednesday, Navarre also praised Carter for her help in keeping the chamber running while the search for a new director was going on.
At the meeting, Navarre and the chamber's board of directors presented Carter with a special award for her service, "not only for the last three or four months, but for your years of service to our community," he said.
Carter said it was her pleasure to help out when the chamber needed her.
Now that Odgers has moved into the chamber's office, she said she's excited to be in business for the town's business community and said she plans to stick around for a while.
"I'm just hoping to get us grounded and get going," she said. "So far, it's been wonderful."
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