Sather to retire from Four Flags Area ChamberPublished 6:26pm Tuesday, February 12, 2013
Ron Sather is retiring as president and CEO of the Four Flags Area Chamber of Commerce effective June 30.
Sather, who has been with the chamber since 1998, made the official announcement Tuesday afternoon.
“I think it is time to make a change and, hopefully, toward the tail end of this recession,” Sather said. “It’s been especially satisfying to see businesses that came here that did well — I’d like to think I had a hand in nurturing them along.”
The chamber’s board of directors will be accepting applications for the position until 5 p.m. March 22.
Barbara Craig, board chairperson, said the board hopes to find a replacement in time to train him or her on the job with Sather.
Sather has been chamber president since 2003 and, prior to that, served as the chamber’s executive director.
The chamber first hired Sather in 1998 for a temporary interim position Sather said was expected to last two to three weeks.
“For a two- or three-week job, it’s certainly been a long time — I never dreamed I’d be here this long,” Sather said.
Looking back on 15 years with the chamber, Sather said he is proud of growing membership from just over 200 to more than 500.
“The backbone of any chamber is membership,” he said.
Sather also said he was proud of bringing the Carson & Barnes 5-Ring Circus to the Apple Festival Grounds in Niles in August of 1999. Sather said they put on a contest between Martin’s Super Market and Wal-Mart to see who could sell the most tickets.
“We sold so many tickets we outsold the Silverdome — when it was still standing,” Sather said.
The chamber used the revenue gained from the circus — about $15,000 — to help purchase equipment for the playground at Riverfront Park.
“That’s how that came about,” he said.
Craig described Sather as a consummate professional and businessman, who could talk about other people’s businesses as if they were his own.
“That makes him an outstanding chamber director that he genuinely cares about local business and is always looking to help other people get rich,” Craig said.
Sather, who plans to stay in Niles, said he is not committed to absolute retirement.
“I’m not saying ‘gee I never want to wear a tie again’ and sit on the beach all day,” Sather said. “That’s not my style.”