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The Daily Ardmoreite
  • Bates enthused about chamber's future

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  • When the new year rolls around, those entering the Ardmore Chamber of Commerce are likely to see things running in much the same fashion as they do now.
    But there will be a subtle difference, as Brian Carter will serve solely as interim president and CEO of the Ardmore Development Authority. Mita Bates will maintain her present office, but she will relinquish her duties as chief financial officer for the ADA and will focus on her current duties as president of the Chamber of Commerce, Ardmore Tourism Authority and Ardmore Chamber Foundation. The move will take effect at the end of the year.
    Bates took over as president of the three organizations following Wes Stuckey's retirement in February. Prior to Stuckey's retirement, he served as president of all four organizations. When Carter took Stuckey's place, he maintained a position in the organizations, but chose to relinquish those duties in September to focus his efforts exclusively on ADA pursuits.
    "He determined he needed to concentrate his efforts in economic development," Bates said. "Due to circumstances, a tremendous amount of time and energy has been spent on economic development. In the past six months, two-thirds of my time has been spent on the ADA."
    Bates said the Chamber, ATA and foundation did not suffer despite the focus on the ADA, as the entities were well run by a dedicated staff. She said things ran smoothly, which was a credit to the staff, but a change is needed in the focus in leadership duties because of ADA growth.
    "Opportunity currently exceeds our capacity. It became apparent it was not a sustainable plan and it was not fair to the organization," she said. "When I relinquish my responsibilities as CFO, it will free up my time.
    "In the immediate future, this best fits the needs of the organizations at large as well as the community. It's an opportunity for me to better focus my activities in a smaller area. We have always been committed to improving the business climate. We can make sure we are delivering value to our members. We can review the goals of Ardmore 20/20 and make sure our activities are in alignment with that plan."
    Bates said 2014 holds tremendous opportunities for both the chamber and the Ardmore Tourism Authority, with activities planned at the convention center. The chamber will also be focused on completing the Wayfind Sign System as well as the foundation introducing its literacy project.
    And it will go on in a building operating as normal, with the chamber maintaining its support functions for the ADA with the same relationships.
    "Anyone who walks in the building will see the same staff and receive the same welcome," Bates said.
    Bates also said the nature of the reorganization allows a better model for recruiting industry. She said it will strengthen Ardmore's hand, as an interested party will be able to meet with two separate people under the same roof in leadership positions working toward a singular goal.

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