For these chairmen, its down to business

Date: Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Area chambers of commerce leaders promote communities, resources

Photo by Patty Montagno

Keith Stephens, area manager of customer operations for Verizon, will lead the Wylie Chamber of Commerce this year.

By Patty Montagno
Staff Writer

Local Chambers of Commerce have announced their 2010 board of directors and chairmen. In Wylie it will be Keith Stephens, area manager of customer operations for Verizon. Sachse’s chamber will be led by Linda Gertsner of Mr. G’s Tees and at the helm of the Murphy chamber is Steve Long, co-owner of Peak Physical Therapy and Sports Medicine of Plano.

Keith Stephens said he sees his term as the chamber chairman as a mentoring experience. 

“I have always been interested in sharing my knowledge and experience to help others,” he said. “I see this as an opportunity to give back to the business community in Wylie and surrounding areas.

“The biggest single benefit of being a chamber member is networking,” he said. “Having access to a large base of potential customers and business partners is very important. The chamber provides access to this diverse group by hosting monthly luncheons, business card exchanges and after hours mixers. In addition, the chamber provides education and development opportunities to assist business owners in meeting the challenges they face on a daily basis.” 

Stephens belongs to the National Emergency Number Association, the United States Telephone Association, Plano Symphony Orchestra Association and the Wylie Education Foundation Advisory Board of Directors.

“I love Wylie,” Stephens said. “It maintains that small-town feel while continuing to grow and prosper. I came to Wylie almost 10 years ago to live and raise my children in a safe community with a quality school district. We have enjoyed the peaceful atmosphere Wylie maintains, while remaining close to the amenities of the big city.”

Stephens said with all the growth the city is currently experiencing, the decisions and groundwork of the chamber will have an impact on the success of future generations.

“Adapting with the changing business environment is a challenge,” he said. “It is critical for the chamber to grow with the community while providing programs and benefits that satisfy the needs of the community and businesses at all levels. Additionally, while the economy shows signs of a recovery, I anticipate continued financial challenges for the chamber and our members.”

He is a graduate of Bonham High School.

Stephens lives in Wylie with his wife Susie and their son Glenn. They attend Wylie First Baptist Church.

Officers are Vice Chairman  Deborah Matern. Other officers are Monica Vehige, Jal Dennis and Pam Wells.

Directors are Tomi Brizendine, Fire Chief Randy Corbin, Jon Lewis, TJ Farler, Renae Ollie, Charles Flesch and Pastor Blake Switzer. 

Sachse Chamber of Commerce
Linda Gerstner, owner/operator of Mr. G’s Tees, will serve as board chairman of the Sachse Chamber of Commerce.

“I had been on the board for a couple of years and have the utmost respect for everyone and everything that was getting accomplished,” she said. “The whole board is made up of volunteers that have the chamber’s best interest in mind for its partners or members and the city. I believe that what we do will affect the businesses and community of Sachse because when the community prospers everyone benefits.”

Gerstner graduated from Kirksville High School in Kirksville, Mo.

“Every member needs to look at the available chamber benefits every quarter if not every month,” she said. “Call on the staff for assistance and decide how and when to use them. The chamber staff has a lot of experience and can brainstorm with the members.” 

She is a member of the Murphy and Wylie chambers of commerce and Wildcare, Inc. Wildlife Rehabilitation.

“The challenge I see this year is to help businesses keep their doors open, whether they are home based or retail makes no difference,” she said. “We are all trying to make a living, and the return on the investment through chamber membership is one of the smartest investments I believe one can make.”

Gerstner has been recognized as  Ambassador of the Month  numerous times and won the Business of the Year award in 2006.

“What I like most about Sachse are the people,” she said. “I have made some great friends and business partners. I would love to see the city grow, prosper and become a place that you can make a living while you work, play and be proud of.”

Gerstner says she sees joint chamber functions as a great way to expand the networking benefits for  all chamber members.

“Sponsorships would be simplified and you would get a lot more from your investment,” she said. “Joint functions means savings and we are all looking for that.”

Gerstner lives in Wylie with her husband Mark. They have five children Denice Drum, Kimberly Ford, Darian Wadham and Bobby and Chris Gerstner.

Chamber officers are vice chairman, David Todd; Don Herzog, treasurer; Stephen Stanley, secretary; and Anita Collins is past chairman

Directors are Becky Ayars, Douglas Brennan,Charles Elk, Jenna Lawson, Kelly Maier, Jeanie Marten, Cesar Moncada, Dr. Jerry Parish and Tiry Williams.

Murphy Chamber of Commerce
Steve Long, co-owner of Peak Physical Therapy and Sports Medicine of Plano, is the Murphy Chamber of Commerce chairman of the board.

“I accepted the position as chairman to help assist the Murphy region to develop in business relationships,” he said. “I would like to set a foundation to help Murphy become a destination entity.”

Long graduated from Kansas State University with a Bachelor of Science degree in physical education. He earned a Master of Science from Rockhurst College in Kansas.

“The Wylie, Murphy, Sachse region is growing at a very fast pace,” he said. “There is so much opportunity for new businesses and enhanced community relations.”

“My goals are to increase communications with the other local chambers and improve the relationship between economic and community boards,” he said. “I would like to assist in business development for the tri-chamber region and increase chamber exposure to the community.”

Long is a member of the American Physical Therapy Association.

He was recognized with the Murphy Chamber of Commerce Chairman’s award.

“Increased community involvement within the chamber is a goal,” he said. “I would also like to improve business benefits that the chamber maybe able to offer a local business.”

Long said the board is very interested in joint chamber functions.

“We are very interested in developing communication and becoming involved in the other chamber functions,” he said. “The Murphy Chamber has an office in the city municipal building; that is working out very well.” 

Prior to opening the business in Plano, Long was a part-time athletic trainer for the Chicago Bears and Tampa Bay Buccaneers football teams.

Long lives in Murphy with his wife Lisa. They have five children.

The family attends several area churches.

Officers are Vice Chairman Alex Acuña; D. Zane Shepherd, secretary and Mary Balderaz, treasurer.

Directors are Sherry Pace, Jamie Engle, Deb Proctor, Jon Lashbrook, Steve Cole, Don Wilson, Steve Dault, James Fisher, Marv Williams, Lynn Malson and Dr. Jim Moebius.

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