Roanoke Regional Chamber of Commerce chief Joyce Waugh pronounces retirement | Enterprise Native

The longtime head of the Roanoke Regional Chamber of Commerce introduced Wednesday that she plans to retire after 22 years with the advocacy group that represents over 700 companies throughout the valley.

Joyce Waugh, president and CEO of the chamber, mentioned her final day shall be Dec. 31, which falls one month after what shall be her seventieth birthday.

The chamber’s board has tapped Eric Sichau, vp of membership providers for the company, to take the helm as her successor.

Waugh mentioned she was happy to be leaving the group with a robust group in place, and added the valley’s enterprise neighborhood had a vibrant future forward.

“I’m simply grateful I had the chance to be a part of a corporation that has had a big effect on creating a robust enterprise local weather for our neighborhood that helps all boats rise,” she mentioned.

Bolstering native enterprise creates jobs, feeds households and generates taxes that assist public facilities, famous Waugh, whose complete profession in financial growth and enterprise advocacy has spanned 44 years.

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She was working because the assistant director of financial growth for Roanoke County in 2000 when she was employed by the chamber to function its vp of public coverage and strategic points. She rose to turn out to be its president in 2008.

The work, she mentioned, has been difficult and ever-evolving but additionally fulfilling. “There are such a lot of elements and components to it,” she mentioned. “It’s virtually like a puzzle. I really like that.”

The complexity of the mission is mirrored in the wide range of initiatives the chamber has tackled. Its tasks have ranged from spotlighting new companies to fostering workforce growth packages in faculties to lobbying state leaders on coverage and infrastructure priorities.

The group, as a complete, has a historical past drawing again greater than 130 years. It was based in 1889 by enterprise house owners who banded collectively to work with metropolis leaders to discover a option to construct a greater community to interchange what was then a muddy tangle of filth roads.

“It’s been a theme ⁠— what can we do to make our area higher?” Waugh mentioned.

That spirit of problem-solving and partnerships continues within the valley to this present day, she added. In powerful instances, folks have dug down to search out new methods to get round obstacles.

“I believe we’re exceptionally robust, and our outlook could be very constructive,” Waugh mentioned, pointing to the adaptability demonstrated by the realm’s small companies over the previous two years and the area’s rising hub of medical and better training innovation.

“I believe that is likely one of the hallmarks of the Roanoke Valley. We work out a option to hold transferring ahead.”

Over her tenure, Waugh has served on the boards of a number of different native teams, together with the Roanoke Regional Partnership, Go to Virginia’s Blue Ridge and Downtown Roanoke Inc. She was acknowledged as chamber government of the yr in 2012 by the Virginia Affiliation of Chamber of Commerce Executives, and have become the primary lady within the valley to earn the designation of licensed financial developer from the Worldwide Financial Improvement Council.

Native chamber leaders mentioned she introduced a gentle hand to an period that was hit with the historic challenges of the Nice Recession and the pandemic.

“On behalf of the Board of Administrators, we thank Joyce for not solely her dedication to western Virginia’s largest and oldest enterprise advocacy group; however to her imaginative and prescient and management that has supplied a robust basis for continued success,” mentioned Greg Brock, board chair, in an announcement of Waugh’s retirement plans.

“As a lot as we’ll miss her, we’re excited for her as she begins her subsequent, well-earned journey,” he mentioned.

Waugh mentioned she was trying ahead to touring and spending extra time with household in retirement. She would possibly take into account taking over new work ⁠— “I’m not an idle soul,” she mentioned ⁠— however anticipated it could be part-time.

She had been weighing the prospect of retirement for a while, which allowed the chamber to develop a succession plan that culminated in Sichau being named as its subsequent president.

Waugh described Sichau as a gifted and devoted one that understands nicely the chamber’s position within the intricacies of supporting native companies.

“I’m simply thrilled,” she mentioned of the choice, including of the chamber’s employees as a complete, “This group works extraordinarily nicely collectively, and we’ve exceptionally good companions locally.”

Working alongside these teams, she added, had been an honor and a privilege.

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