After weeks without a director, the Humboldt Chamber of Commerce has finally filled the position. Amanda Love is the new chamber executive director.
Chamber president, Georgann McFarland, said the board of directors wanted to take its time and find the perfect person for the job. She and the search committee believe they found the right person in Love.
Love’s first day on the job was Monday, June 12. She intends to hit the ground running.
“I will start meeting chamber members—meet as many as possible this summer,” Love said of her first action as chamber director. “I want to ask their needs and ask what the chamber can do for them.”
When former chamber director, Lee Williams, resigned from the position to pursue a different career in Texas, McFarland and the board began discussion on how to find Williams’ replacement.
The position was posted on indeed.com, a job search website, as well as advertised on the Tennessee Chamber of Commerce’s website. McFarland said they received 40 to 50 resumes during the search.
“The chamber board elected a search committee and we started going through the resumes,” McFarland said on the next step.
The search committee was made up of two representatives from industry, Bob Graning and Ed Zelinka; one from downtown, Tommy Goodrum; the president, McFarland; vice president, Dustin Twyman; ex-officio past president, Shane Lynch; mayor, Marvin Sikes; and utility manager, Alex Smith.”
The search committee met several times, selected their top choices before narrowing them down further to those who would interview for the job.
On the day of the interviews and selection, McFarland’s daughter, Anna Surratt, gave birth to twins so McFarland was unable to attend the interview and selection. Surratt also works at the chamber as events coordinator.
“Georgann contacted me and said I had made the final list of applicants and asked to do an interview the week after the Strawberry Festival,” Love recalled. “There was one interview. She called two days later and offered me the job. Georgann said don’t answer right now—think about it, talk with your husband. Tell me on Monday. I called her Sunday and told her I love it—I can’t turn it down!”
Love said she has always thought the chamber director’s job is the best job in town. She’s thought about the job for years.
“I got an email from a friend saying Lee (Williams) was leaving,” Love said. “‘You’ve thought about this job for years—you should apply’,” the friend wrote.
Love found the application online and submitted her resume.
“I have a different skillset than past directors have had,” Love said. “I want to put my skills to work.”
Love has worked in marketing for many years and has also worked in media.
She was born and raised in Calhoun City, Miss. Her family moved to Tennessee when her father was transferred to Kellwood in Rutherford. They lived in Union City, Tenn.
Love attended college at UT Martin. While there she worked on campus with WLJT Public Broadcasting Service and continued working with them after she finished college.
Shortly after, Love took a position with Intermedia (now Charter) and then worked at SL-100 radio station.
Love took a job in Humboldt with InfoStructure where general manager Mark Love was her boss. Amanda met Mark’s brother, Jeff, and they began dating. In 2004 they married and she moved to Humboldt, where she’s lived ever since. When she left InfoStructure, Love accepted a job in Union City with Top of the World Distributors. For 13 years she had driven to Union City each week to work and back.
Love said it was hard to leave Top of the World but the Humboldt chamber director position was her dream job.
Even though McFarland wasn’t able to attend the interview process, she talked with all the members of the search committee.
“They liked her personality, liked that she was invested in Humboldt, that she chose to move to Humboldt and married a Humboldt native who graduated from Humboldt High School,” McFarland noted of the committee’s decision. “She knew a lot about Humboldt and has a vision of where Humboldt will grow in the future.”
McFarland said the search committee unanimously voted to offer Love the executive director position. The one question posed by the search committee that they all like the most and was definitely one of the reasons for the unanimous vote, “Where do you see yourself in five years?” Love was asked. Her reply was, “I hope to be right here. I’m passionate about life in Humboldt.”
Love has lofty goals of meeting as many chamber members and non-members as possible this summer. She will be visiting businesses and knocking on doors, introducing herself and getting to know Humboldtans.
“I love Humboldt,” Love said of what she brings to the job. “I want everyone to see Humboldt as I see it. I have a background in marketing and in media. I know about retail and industry. Businesses don’t move to town, industry doesn’t move to town, people move to town and bring their businesses and industry. You have to show them why they need to be here. It’s not hard showing Humboldt. We’ve got great employees, great schools and no traffic. And $200,000 gets you a much better home than it will in Nashville or other big cities. The cost of living is better here and so is the quality of life.”
“My door is open,” Love said as her policy as chamber director. “Anything I can do for you, please let me know. I want to help.”