Grayson County Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Becky Escue announced on Friday, Feb. 5 that she will step down from her position this year.
Escue is tentatively planning to step down as Chamber Executive Director in June, after three and a half years, to join her family’s business, Escue Wood Preserving in Millwood, in the Human Resources department.
Escue, who originally worked for the Chamber of Commerce from 1990 to 2001, said that when she returned to the Chamber the second time, she expected to stay from three to five years to help rebuild it to its full potential.
“I spent the majority of my adult life at the Chamber,” Escue said. “I didn’t come back for the money. I came back for my love for the community and the Chamber.”
Under Escue’s leadership, Chamber membership has grown from 157 members to more than 270, with many businesses now reaching out to the Chamber to be a part of its growth.
The Chamber has even outgrown its traditional venue for its annual membership dinner, the Centre on Main, and, starting in 2015, began holding the dinner at the Rough River Lodge.
Escue also led the Chamber to launching a new website, www.graysoncountychamber.com, in 2014, as well as the ChamberMaster program, the latter of which has assisted with more quickly promoting businesses through the Chamber’s website and social media.
Escue also oversaw the creation of the Chamber of Commerce’s President’s Circle, whose members pay an additional $2,000 on top of their membership investment to further support the group.
“That program alone helped save the Chamber from a financial standpoint,” Escue said. “They’re really going above and beyond.”
Additionally, Escue helped coordinate Grayson County’s Work Ready Community program with Steve Meredith, as well as the construction of American Legion Post 81 Veterans Memorial Park.
Escue said that seeing the Veterans Memorial open on Memorial Day 2016 is why she has set her tentative end date for June.
“I would like to see that finished,” she said. “It came out of the Work Ready.”
Escue attributes a large portion of her successful tenure as Chamber Executive Director to the support and trust of her colleagues on the various Chamber Boards of Directors, as well as those with whom she works at the Centre on Main.
Her Boards’ trust in her has paid off as, Escue said, the Chamber looks to start its next financial year “stronger than I’ve seen them in 13 years.”
Escue said she felt that 2016 is the right time to step down because she will be leaving the Chamber in a good financial position for its next Director.
She also has a child about to begin college at Murray State, and, with her new position, she will have more time available in case she is needed.
“I will have the opportunity to work from home a couple of days a week,” said Escue, adding that she looks forward to having more time to serve as an assistant tennis coach, as well.
The Chamber of Commerce will accept resumes for the position of Executive Director until March 1, and a new Director is expected to be selected by the Chamber of Commerce Executive Committee by April so that he or she will have the opportunity to work with Escue before she leaves.
“I want the next Director to succeed,” said Escue, explaining that she has also agreed to do consulting with the new Director after she has stepped down to ensure the transition goes smoothly. “It’s not that I have big shoes to fill. It’s just a big job.”
Escue said she also looks to continue to serve the Grayson County Chamber of Commerce as a Chamber Ambassador and member after she steps down.
Reach Matt Lasley at 270-259-9622, ext. 2015.