Chamber changes: Johnson takes over as interim executive director
By Scott Loftis
Chris Claybaker is out and Steve Johnson is in as executive director of the Greater Berryville Area Chamber of Commerce, and Claybaker says he couldn’t be happier.
Claybaker, who had been serving in a dual role as the chamber director and the city of Berryville’s economic development director, resigned from the chamber position this week after suggesting that the chamber board hire Johnson.
A former mayor of Camden who moved to Berryville in early 2015, Claybaker said the plan since his arrival had been to strengthen the chamber by increasing membership and revenue and then hand the director duties off to a new director.
“The plan was to get the chamber up and running and sustainable and hire an executive director,” he said.
Johnson, who has extensive experience in information technology and also has a background in sales, had been working for the city to update and improve its website.
Claybaker said it quickly became clear that Johnson was the right choice to lead the chamber forward.
“We had reached the point where something needed to happen one way or the other,” he said. “It’s one of those rare, rare opportunities where the right person comes along at the right time.”
Having Johnson in place will allow Claybaker to focus on economic development, but he says he’ll be working with Johnson to help him get acclimated.
“We’re making sure it’s a really good, smooth transition,” he said.
Johnson said he was hired on an interim basis but indicated he would be interested in remaining as the chamber’s executive director on a permanent basis.
“I’m excited to help the chamber now and in the future,” he said.