New chamber director takes office
Rockland — There is a new face in the executive director's office at Penobscot Bay Regional Chamber of Commerce. Staci Coomer began work on Oct. 11, a long “but exciting” day culminating in a Business After Hours event.
“I'm in awe of the great work that's been done here,” she said.
Coomer, a Wisconsin native, said she looks forward to becoming a big part of the community.
“I love people,” she said, adding she doesn't mind speaking with people in places like the grocery store.
She will split her time between the Rockland and Camden chamber offices; though she said she hopes to become known more for being outside the office and in the community.
“I hope to be out more than in,” she said. “I will be anywhere and everywhere.”
Coomer said “a tremendous amount of work has gone into the consolidation” of the two chambers. She said she sees her role going forward as “developing this chamber as one.”
“I don't think I could be coming in at a better or more exciting time,” she said.
Coomer has worked in the health care field, including at Pen Bay Medical Center, mostly in fundraising and marketing. She said economic development was a big role played by several hospitals she's worked at in the Northeast, Southeast and Midwest.
“In hospitals, you're an important part of economic development,” Coomer said. “[But] there's a different impact on the community.”
She said she's worked in large and small communities and is ready for the challenge posed by communities that are part of Penobscot Bay Regional Chamber of Commerce.
“I'm glad to have the breadth [of experience],” Coomer said. “It's seeing the small stuff and the big stuff.”
Coomer said she has known previous chamber executive director Dan Bookham for some time and followed the chamber blog while living out of the state.
She said she is thrilled to return to the Midcoast area after having been gone for several years. Coomer and her husband Kevin Pavelich lived in Rockport before moving out of state to help other family members.
“We knew when we were here that this is where we wanted to make our life,” she said.
She said the couple decided to retain ownership of their Rockport house when they moved, opting to rent it out to tenants. A few months ago, the tenants notified Coomer and Pavelich they intended to move out.
Coomer said she then checked to see if anyone had been hired to lead the chamber and found the position was still available.
“It was a timing thing,” she said. “We knew we wanted to come back. The tenants were moving out...that was kind of our sign.”
Coomer and Pavelich live in Rockport with their three children, ages 13, 11 and 11 months. She said the transition for the family has been smooth, given that technology has allowed the children, and their parents, to keep in touch with friends from the area.
Courier Publications Editor Stephanie Grinnell can be reached at 236-8511 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.