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Chamber begins looking for a new president

Srecko Ponjavic

Srecko Ponjavic

Fort Macleod Chamber of Commerce is in the market for a new president.
Srecko Ponjavic will step down from the post in March at the Chamber’s annual general meeting.
“Over the last two years I’ve accomplished pretty much what I’ve wanted to,” Ponjavic said.
Ponjavic broke the news Thursday at the Chamber’s regular meeting in its office at the Rural Alberta Business Centre.
Ponjavic listed as goals he set out establishing a Chamber office, building a Web site, increasing the membership and reviving the awards program.
“Where I think the Chamber needs to go is more in the lobbying direction and I can’t really do that,” Ponjavic said.
Ponjavic explained that he has found himself in a conflict of interest as small business advisor at the Rural Alberta Business Centre.
When he became Chamber president Ponjavic worked for ATB Financial, but later took the job at the Rural Alberta Business Centre.
The centre is funded by the province but is operated in a partnership with the Town of Fort Macleod.
Ponjavic said the Chamber’s recent presentations to town council to lower the tax gap between business and residential property and eliminate the manufacturing and equipment tax put him in a difficult spot.
“We’ve done some good lobbying,” Ponjavic said. “We’ve been able to do some positive things. I just don’t have the time I used to plus I want to avoid conflicts of interest.”
Ponjavic has also recently become president of the Junior Chamber International in Lethbridge.
“I’m getting pulled in a bunch of different directions,” Ponjavic said.
Ponjavic said announcing his decision now leaves plenty of time to find a replacement.
“I’m setting it out early so people can begin planning,” Ponjavic said.
Chamber member Terry Daniel cautioned it will be difficult to attract a new president unless more members take an active role.
“I find there is so much apathy in this town,” Daniel said. “It’s just ridiculous. Everybody thinks something should be done, but the other guy should do it.”
Ponjavic agreed.
“Maybe we can plan over the next two months to make that a priority, how we can get more involvement from our members,” Ponjavic said.
The Chamber is also pursuing a partnership with the Rural Alberta Business Centre to hire a part-time assistant to provide administrative support.
Ponjavic intends to continue as a director with the Fort Macleod Chamber of Commerce.
“I’m not dropping off the face of Fort Macleod,” Ponjavic said. “I’m still going to be involved.”

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