The Panama City Beach Chamber of Commerce will soon welcome a new President.
After an extensive 5 month search, Lance Allison of Murray, Kentucky is chosen as the best man for the job.
News 13's spoke to Allison from Kentucky. He said he's excited to start May 1st.
He has a little over a month to make the treck from his hometown to the sands of Panama City Beach, and he said it is the sense of community here that makes it a move worth making.
"I have always said I would never leave Murray for a job opportunity just because it was a bigger job, it might pay more money," he said. "When the decision came, it was probably the easiest, smoothest, most comfortable decision I've ever made in my life."
Allison is no stranger to Chamber of Commerce work.
The former 20 year small business owner currently serves as President and CEO of the Murray Calloway County Chamber that, under his leadership, was recognized top 10 nationally for member retention.
That was a big draw for Board President, Derrick Bennett.
"We're looking forward to him coming in and to take care of our members and focus on their needs and issues," said Bennett.
Bennett said he looks forward to utilizing Allison's strengths in building relationships.
"When Lance comes in, hopefully he can use that background to better and improve our current relationships with the county, the TDC, the city as we grow on Panama City Beach," said Bennett.
Allison said he's most looking forward to leading an energized team, getting his family immersed into a welcoming community and seeing what is next for the Chamber that he will soon lead.
"I promise you that I am going to do the best that I possibly can to move Panama City Beach Chamber forward. It's already a fantastic organization, so we want to see if the sky is the limit there in what we can do," said Allison.
Allison's resume was a stand out among hundreds according to Bennet.
He is filling the role that has been open since former President Beth Oltman stepped down last fall.
After almost five months of applications, interviews, and decision-making the Panama City Beach Chamber of Commerce has finally elected its new leader. The search committee, staff, and Board of Directors chose Lance Allison from Murray, KY, to direct the Beach Chamber in its future endeavors.
Mr. Allison, who had been President/CEO at the Murray Calloway County Chamber of Commerce, will serve as the source for the Beach Chamber's success with its members, mission, volunteer engagement, and staff. The new President & CEO will guide the development of the Beach Chamber's strategic plan, address key economic, community, and public policy issues, and enhance support for small business.
Before leaving Kentucky, Mr. Allison led the Murray Calloway County Chamber to state association awards in membership retention, e-news communication, and publications. Thanks to his leadership, in 2012 the Murray Calloway County Chamber achieved national status of Top 10 in member retention, the Bronze Award for publications, and Chamber of the Year from the American Chamber of Commerce Executives. He also won the 2012 Chamber President of the Year Award in from the Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives at its annual convention in Louisville, KY. He received the Kentucky Accredited Chamber Executive designation (ACE) and the Certificate of Nonprofit Management (IOM) designation from the US Chamber of Commerce Southeast Institute for Organization Management. With an extensive background in small business, Mr. Allison plans to gear the programming for the Beach Chamber towards business development and member relations.
Prior to joining the Murray Calloway County Chamber in 2008, Mr. Allison spent 20 years in photography where he later owned his own photography business. He is cultivated in communications in organizations, leadership development and training, relationship building, and networking. Mr. Allison holds a B.S. & M.S. in Organizational Communication from Murray State University.
He and his wife, Terra Allison, and their three children, Payton, Chloe and Jack will be relocating to Panama City Beach in May.