Dear Howard County Chamber Members:

It is with gratitude and excitement that I come to you at this time. As I reflect upon the past year, I am extremely thankful to the Howard County community, membership and board of directors.

As many of you are aware, we spent the better part of 2014 searching for a new president/CEO. In addition, we had two key staff positions become vacant. I am happy to say that, in November 2014, Leonardo McClarty became the new president of the Howard County Chamber. I am sure I speak for the board when I say that we are more than elated to have Leonardo here.

Having vacant positions always poses a challenge. Not a having a CEO posed even greater challenges for the board, staff and community as a whole. Yet, it was during this period of transition that we really saw the business community, along with the numerous Chamber volunteers, pull together to support the organization and staff. I cannot be more proud of the various committees, board members and especially our hard-working and dedicated staff that went above and beyond to ensure that the Howard County Chamber stay afloat.

I am also thankful for Ron Meliker, who served as interim president for three months and aided Leonardo in his transition to Howard County. Ron provided great leadership and was a much needed stabilizing presence within the Chamber office.

In looking back upon the last year, we accomplished some great feats. We held true to our mission of being the voice of business, and we continued to provide our members with quality programs and speakers, thereby allowing them to develop and cultivate meaningful and fruitful relationships.

I am honored to serve as Chamber board chair for another year. I have great expectations for the year ahead. We have a great board, a fully staffed Chamber led by Leonardo McClarty, and the sky is the limit for us.