The leadership of the Burke County of Chamber of Commerce is excited about new staff members they have assembled to serve the business community. The positions are new and will bring a team approach to the operation of the Chamber. The goal of the Chamber is to serve local businesses and organizations that will continue to build and grow this amazing community.

Hollie Phillips, who previously served as the Chamber’s office manager, will step into the newly created member relations specialist position. Th e job will entail working with and serving the membership in various ways and participating in all the events.

“I am excited to take on a new role at the Chamber, while continuing many of the same tasks I have been doing,” said Phillips, who has served the Chamber for almost three years. “We work hard to help our membership and promote their businesses. I look forward to focusing more efforts on directly working with our members.”

The Chamber of Commerce, in partnership with the Burke County Tourism Development Authority, has hired Stacey Ripley to serve as the new events and visitor center specialist. Ripley is well known in Burke County, as she previously worked as the events and marketing director for the Chamber. The position Ripley is taking will split her time between the Chamber of Commerce and TDA, as she will be the face and voice of both organizations when visiting and calling.

“We are excited to bring Stacey back to work in Burke County,” said Ed Phillips, the TDA executive director. “She has a lot of talents, and I know that she will be great with our visitors and others in the community,”

Ripley recently worked in Catawba County as the event and catering director at the Rock Barn Country Club and Spa.

“I have really enjoyed working at the Rock Barn, however, I miss my community in Burke County,” Ripley said. “The Chamber and TDA both provide a great way for me to be involved back with my local community , and I look forward to this opportunity.”

Ripley, who starts work March 11, will take care of the Visitors Center for the TDA and work with all trolley events and rentals. For the Chamber, she will plan the Golf Tournament, Business After Hours, Business 4 Breakfasts, and play a role in other events.

In the last few months, McKenzie Peeler has filled in at the Chamber and TDA as the staff search took place. Peeler has worked for the TDA for the past couple of years on Saturdays to open the Visitors Center. She was a perfect choice to help out part-time over the past few months. During her time with the Chamber, she greeted visitors, answered the phones and promoted Chamber activities through social media. The board of directors approved in its 2019 budget to keep a part-time communications and office assistant , a position which Peeler will fill.

“McKenzie has been such a help to the office during the months we have not been fully staffed,” said Tonia Stephenson, president and CEO of the Chamber of Commerce. “However, where she really shines is in the social media arena. She has exponentially grown our presence online, which has had a trickle-down effect on all we do. She has been a great addition to our team.”

Peeler will coordinate with news outlets and social media and support programs and events at the Chamber.

Stephenson, Peeler, Phillips and Ripley will educate the community about all the Chamber has to offer, encourage more businesses and organizations to become members and help them network and promote themselves.

“I am looking forward to learning more about the Chamber and working to promote what we do,” Peeler said. “I enjoy working with the team in place and think Stacey will be a great addition.”

The new Chamber team has big plans for what they can do for local businesses, as well as the community at large , and will hold several upcoming events.

“I am thrilled to bring Stacey Ripley back to the Chamber,” Stephenson said. “I have heard nothing but good things about her since coming to work at the Chamber. We have a great team, and I think she will be a great addition. We already know that Hollie, McKenzie, and I work well together, and we look forward to what we can accomplish with one more person.”

For more information on the Burke County Chamber of Commerce, contact 828-437-3021.

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