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May 23, 2014
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Basalt Chamber of Commerce seeks CEO to replace departing Smith

The Basalt Area Chamber of Commerce is searching for a new president and CEO to take the reins from Heather Smith, who is resigning later this year.

Smith’s husband took a job in Telluride, and they will be moving to Ouray, according to Cole Sjoholm, chairman of the chamber’s board of directors. Smith informed the board of her departure in April, so it had plenty of time to find a replacement.

Sjoholm said Smith was able to vastly expand the membership of the chamber despite battling the recession that started in late 2008 and its aftermath.

“When Smith was hired, the chamber didn’t have such a good financial picture,” he said.

The chamber had roughly 100 members when Smith started in September 2007. It has about 425 members today. The chamber received five awards for growth from an association of chambers of commerce in Colorado.

Smith said she was hired as the Basalt chamber’s first full-time director. People knew that they could reach someone every business day.

“That helped the credibility of it,” she said.

Her favorite part of the job, she said, was getting to know small business owners and entrepreneurs and helping provide services that could help them thrive.

Smith and Sjoholm regularly attend Basalt Town Council meetings and provide a voice for the business community on many issues. Smith also has been a central figure in organizing special events, organizing Basalt’s Wednesday night music series and coordinating chamber cooperation with the Downtown Business Association.

The chamber and town government inked a deal this year that provides a $50,000 challenge grant to the chamber. In return for the public funds, the chamber had to raise $12,500 from a new revenue stream. In addition, it must show performance in marketing and in a demographic study that will help spur business.

Sjoholm said the chamber is looking for a director who can continue to be an effective advocate for the business community in civic issues and continue to seek ways to enhance marketing efforts.

The president and CEO oversees one other full-time employee, a director of operations, and an annual budget of more than $200,000. The position averages 40 to 50 hours per week, according to the job description on the chamber’s website. The starting salary range is $40,000 to $45,000 with the potential for a bonus.

The person must be able to work with a seven-member board of directors. There will be a three-month probationary period.

Applications will be accepted through, May 28. The chamber board hopes to hire Smith’s successor by mid-July so there is a transition period before she leaves.

“I didn’t want to leave them in a lurch,” Smith said.

More information can be found on the position at Qualified applicants can email their resume, cover letter and references to

Smith was able to vastly expand the membership of the chamber despite battling the recession that started in late 2008 and its aftermath.

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The Aspen Times Updated May 23, 2014 12:00AM Published May 25, 2014 10:39AM Copyright 2014 The Aspen Times. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.