Wheeling Area Chamber of Commerce Hires Kurt Zende as Next President | News, Sports, Jobs

Kurt zende

WHEELING – Kurt Zende returns to a familiar office, albeit in a new role.

The Executive Council of the Wheeling Area Chamber of Commerce announced Thursday that Zende, who has worked for the town of Wheeling since 2005, will become the chamber’s new president. Zende replaces Erikka Storch, who left this position to become Executive Director of Project BEST.

This is not Zende’s first visit to the bedroom. He was senior vice president from 1995 to 2000.

“It was just a natural fit for me, in my opinion,” he said. “I have been active in this valley for about 30 years now.

“I have had a wonderful time with the city over the past 17 years,” he said, “but I couldn’t pass up this opportunity. “

Zende is well versed in economic and community development throughout the Ohio Valley, having previously held positions in the Jefferson County Chamber of Commerce and the Main Street program in Steubenville, as well as in Wheeling as a development specialist. economic.

One of his roles within the city was to oversee the development of the central market.

There have been some changes in the job, he said, including with the COVID-19 pandemic, which has forced chambers of commerce across the country to pivot and evolve to help local businesses get through. slowdowns. But many of the programs that were in place in his first round remain, although they may have been expanded and supplemented.

Zende understands the role of the president and what the chamber has to offer in terms of advocacy for government affairs and economic development.

“I think we live in a little different world with COVID,” he said, “but it’s not going to last forever. I think my role, from an economic development point of view, I’m looking at what the chamber can do in that role. I think we will play more of a role in economic restructuring.

Part of that, he said, will come in workforce development, bringing together the business community with local colleges and high schools to look at the professional aspects of things to meet the needs of the workforce. -work.

The executive committee was happy to see Zende take on this role.

“We are delighted to welcome Kurt as Chairman,” said Chairman of the Board Tanner Russell. “Kurt comes to us with a wealth of experience in economic development, small business ownership and room management. “

Zende believes his roots in the Ohio Valley and his experience in this landscape will help him get started in the new job.

“I’ve known everyone in town for a long time,” he says. “I’ve known the key players in these roles and they know me, and I think we’ll be able to work together in a very productive way. “

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