Bath native Emily Plecker is the new Executive Director of the Bath Chamber of Commerce

The Bath Chamber of Commerce has a new executive director.  Bath native Emily Plecker has been on the job just over a month now. She is hoping to change the vision of what the chamber is and what the chamber can be.  She sees that as her biggest challenge.

“My goals are to, of course, work with the board on a program that focuses on the current needs of the business community in Bath,” says Plecker.  “Also, of course, membership growth and retention is widely important.  I hope to improve the benefits of membership.  Cultivating potential directors for the revitalization process of the chamber and what I mean by that is just going out into the community figuring out diverse individuals who will be good for the board of directors, who will bring some different views and some different stances on things going on in the community.    And I also hope to see a vision for the young professionals upcoming in the community.  Because I think it’s very important.  For years I’ve wanted to come back to Bath County and to develop a career here because that’s where I see me raising a family. But there hasn’t been a lot of opportunity for the young people to be able to step up and do that.  So I hope to kind of come up with some kind of networking program to better that in the community as well.”

Plecker says it is important to have a chamber for local businesses so they can figure out how they can help each other and how the county can help them.  And there is marketing help and resources that come along with a chamber membership.

“You know the chamber is here, so use it,” says Plecker.  “You know a lot of people think ‘Oh I’m going to join the chamber and it’s just going to do wonders for me.’  Yes, it’s going to do wonders for you, but you have to use it.  You have to get out there.  You have to do these networking events.  You have to talk to people.  Otherwise, you’re not going to see the benefits right away because, you know, you’re not getting involved.  Part of being part of the chamber is being involved.  And, you know, we’re here to help you get involved.”

Plecker says that her new job will require her to wear a lot of different hats.  She will work with local businesses, but she will also work on organizing the Bath County Triathlon, the Wings and Wheels festival, the Chamber Golf Tournament and the Annual Chamber Appreciation Dinner.

 “I also work closely, but separately, with Bath County Tourism to promote the county,” says Plecker.  “How our relationship works there is I’m focused more on the businesses.  The people that are already here and tourism focuses on the draw to Bath.  Maggie Anderson is wonderful. She’s been such a help to me, especially since I started this job.  As well as Crystal Salvatore, who is the President of the Chamber, and they’ve just been very helpful.”

Plecker is a graduate of Bath County High School and Hollins University.  She’s worked in a couple of different marketing jobs and says she has a different perspective now since she’s spent time away from Bath.

 “The businesses are growing,” says Plecker.  “I think a lot has changed.  I think that the tourism has really, really grown here.  I remember being in high school and thinking ‘Oh the tourists that come in.’ It’s weird coming back and saying ‘Oh my gosh look at all the people here, that’s great!’  So there’s been a lot of changes and I think it’s for the better.”

You can reach Emily Plecker at the chamber at 540-839-5409.

Story By

Bonnie Ralston

Bonnie Ralston is the Assistant Station Coordinator at WVLS and a Highland County news reporter. She began volunteering at Allegheny Mountain Radio in the fall of 2005. In 2006 she became an AMR employee and worked in Bath County for eight years as the WCHG Station Coordinator and then as the news reporter there. She began working in radio while in college and has stayed connected to radio, in one way or another, for more than thirty years. She grew up in Staunton, Virginia, while spending a lot of time on her family’s farm in Deerfield, Virginia. She enjoys spending time outside, watching old TV shows and movies and tending to her chickens.

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