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Chamber of commerce hires new director

MADAWASKA, Maine — Members of the St. John Valley Chamber of Commerce said goodbye to their former Executive Director Brian Bouley as they welcomed his successor, Jenn Collin, to the team earlier this month.

“We’re sad that Brian left, but we totally understand and we wish him well,” said Gail Beaupre, the president of the Board of Directors of the Chamber of Commerce who has served with Bouley since they were both instated into their respective positions three and a half years ago.

“We’re still keeping in touch with him and he’ll still be part of the chamber,” she said.

While Bouley settles into his new role at Channel X radio as the advertising salesman, he still plans to stay active with the chamber and plans to be voted onto the board at the next board of directors meeting.

“I still believe in the cause, and I still support what they are doing,” Bouley said. “I didn’t want to leave. It was the best job I ever had, but I felt like it was time for a change.”

Bouley brought a number of things to the St. John Valley including the shop small campaign associated with Black Friday, the annual Poutine Palooza associated with the Acadian Festival, and the Community-Wide Yard Sale event.

Bouley also attended, and plans to continue attending, various meetings and trade shows all over Maine.

“You can’t promote the St. John Valley by staying in the Valley,” Bouley said.

When Bouley gave his notice in September, the Board of Directors for the St. John Valley Chamber of Commerce  immediately began the search to fill the position. Enter Jenn Collin.

Collin, 35, moved to Madawaska eight years ago from Atlanta, Georgia. She helped reboot the Girl Scout Troop 161 in Madawaska, and said she is very active in the American Legion. For the last six years, Collin has been the director of the American Legion Riders Chapter 147 and vice president of the American Legion Auxiliary.

“We as the board felt she is well-known in the community, and we think the public will know her,” Beaupre said. “She had great ideas about things she wanted to do and things she wanted to change and we felt that she would be a great asset to the chamber.

The main duties of the executive director are to help promote the businesses in membership. Beaupre added that the chamber is a “big part of tourism.”

“Anything we can do to bring people in is a plus for all of our businesses and that’s what the chamber is here for,” Beaupre said.

Collin started in the position on Oct. 12 and already jumped into her new role very “upbeat” according to Bouley.

“I hope to bring new activities,” Collin said Friday. “I want to keep the positive energy in the town as far as our events go.”

Collin said she is already working on Shop Small Saturday and the Christmas Tree lighting event on Nov. 23 with Knights of Columbus.  

“My ears are open to new events and suggestions,” Collin said. “I can’t do it all on my own.”

Community members can reach the new director via the chamber’s facebook page, the chamber office at 356 Main Street between 9 a.m. and 2 p.m. or by calling 728-7000.

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