Jim Hizer has been named president and CEO of the Pensacola Bay Area Chamber of Commerce in Pensacola, Florida, and will begin his new duties on August 16.
"I consider it a blessing and a privilege to have served the Chamber and the South Central Kentucky economic development community for the past 6 years," said Hizer, who has served in his present position since June 2004.
As president and CEO, Hizer's role has focused primarily on attracting, retaining and encouraging the expansion of businesses and industries in the South Central Kentucky region and includes the creation of the menu of services program in which surrounding counties have entered into a partnership agreement with the Chamber for economic development services. The menu of services program, which was launched in 2008, received the 2009 International Economic Development Council's Regionalism and Cross-border Collaboration Award.
"I am quite proud of the work we have accomplished since 2004. We took a Chamber that was already strong and we transformed it into a regional economic development powerhouse that is the envy of communities and regions all over the country," said Hizer. Since 2004, the Chamber has participated in 87 new and expanding industry announcements, creating nearly 4,400 jobs and more than $407.7 million in economic investment.
Under Hizer's leadership, the Chamber was named the American Chamber of Commerce Executives' 2009 Chamber of the Year, and it received five-star accreditation from the United States Chamber of Commerce, an accolade that less than 100 chambers in the nation can boast. Hizer also oversaw the Chamber's capital campaign, which raised more than $2.8 million toward the new $4-million headquarters at 710 College Street.
Hizer attributes the Chamber's many awards and achievements to the strength of its many volunteers and leaders. "I am most grateful for the many dedicated Chamber volunteers who continue to distinguish this organization as the number one chamber in the nation. I have enjoyed teaming with the elected leadership, the area business leadership, all of our regional partners and an incredible staff as we have built a world-class economic development organization that will continue to bring impressive results to South Central Kentucky long after my departure."
"Jim has made a profound impact on the Chamber and the community," said Joe Natcher, chairman of the Chamber Board of Directors. "We will be saddened by his absence, but we thank him for the great success that he has brought to South Central Kentucky. His leadership has been instrumental in building an award-winning Chamber. While we knew that he might someday move on to a different chamber in another community, his influence will be a lasting presence on this organization."
Rodney Rogers, chair-elect of the Chamber Board of Directors, agreed, "Thanks to Jim for his dedication to our organization and to the economic success of the entire South Central Kentucky region. We wish him the best of luck in the future and know that he will bring a great contribution to Pensacola."
Hizer will oversee chamber, economic development and tourism activities at the Pensacola Bay Area Chamber of Commerce and looks forward to the opportunity. "While it is difficult to leave my friends and colleagues here in Kentucky, I am eager to take on the challenge of building an economic development program in a community that is committed to doing what it takes to create success."