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Chamber executive director and assistant both resign from positions

SPRINGVILLE — The Springville Area Chamber of Commerce will soon have two new faces behind the desk, following the resignations of executive director Erika Thurkins and assistant executive director Deb Gernatt.

Both Thurkins and Gernatt are leaving to pursue other employment opportunities. Thurkins added that she plans to return to being a stay-at-home-mom, as well as starting her own online portrait-selling business. The former chamber director is a painter by trade, and said that she plans to approach local residents about portraits, in order to drum up interest for commissions.

Both women said that the timing of their departures is “a complete coincidence.

“I had actually planned on putting in my two weeks, when Erika put in hers,” Gernatt said. “So I decided to wait a week, so that we weren’t both leaving on the exact same day.”

Thurkins’ last day will be Nov. 8 and Gernatt’s last day will be Nov. 15.

The team said that they were working on wrapping up current projects so they could leave the office organized and streamlined.

“We loved it here and we’re sorry to go, but we’re writing notes, leaving directions and making sure the transition is as smooth as possible,” Thurkins said.

President Dave Field said that the chamber was “caught by surprise” by the resignations, and that he was working to get someone to staff the SACC office to answer phones and provide community support, as soon as possible. “We’re trying to piece it together a little bit,” he said, of working out the staffing, in the interim.

The chamber is also looking to fill those positions, both of which are part-time, administrative jobs.

“We don’t have a huge amount of money to put into them,” Field said, of the compensation. “So we’re looking for someone who may have retired from a business field, maybe a stay-at-home mom with older children who doesn’t have to pay for childcare.”

According to Field, the successful candidates would have experience with office computer software, working in a professional environment and working with government officials, on the local, state and federal levels.

“Someone with experience with the local communities of Springville and Concord and working with chambers of commerce would be helpful, as well,” he added.

Thurkins added that she thought a good executive director should be familiar with working with a board of directors.

“It’d be helpful to know the proper chain of command,” she said, of characteristics that might help a candidate succeed in the position.

Above all, all three said the ideal executive director and assistant director should be people who are committed to the community and the position.

“We don’t want someone who just wants a job, any job,” Field said. “When we hired [Gernatt and Thurkins] they both wanted the positions, specifically. Our ideal would be someone like that.”

Inquiries about the position can be directed to the chamber at P.O. Box 310, Springville, N.Y. 14141 or to Dave Field directly.
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