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After two decades, Central La. Chamber head Pody to retire in 2011

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Bonnie Lemoine (left), former board chairman of the Central Louisiana Chamber of Commerce, helps intall Deborah Randolph as the new leader of the board for 2011 on Thursday at the Sai Convention Center in Alexandria.

By Bret H. McCormick

Elton Pody is gearing up for his 21st — and final — year as the president of the Central Louisiana Chamber of Commerce.

Pody, who moved to Alexandria in 1991 after serving eight years as mayor of Ruston, announced his plans to retire effective at the end of 2011. The announcement came Thursday at the Chamber’s 97th annual meeting at the Sai Convention Center in Alexandria.

“This year coming up, we’re going to have the best year the Chamber has ever had,” Pody said.

Pody was lauded by the volunteers who serve the organization that promotes economic growth and serves the businesses of Central Louisiana.

“He has been a true role model for most of us in the community,” said Bonnie Lemoine, the outgoing chairman of the Chamber’s board of directors.

“When he retires, he’ll leave a great legacy,” said Deborah Randolph, who took the helm as the chairman of the Chamber board on Thursday.

The announcement of Pody’s pending retirement stole some thunder from the annual luncheon in which Lemoine recapped the Chamber’s accomplishments over the past year and Randolph outlined her goals for the upcoming year.

In addition, Kenny Sayes, president and CEO of Sayes Office Supply in Alexandria, received the Chamber’s Small Businessperson of the Year Award, while Bruce Greenstein, secretary of the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals, delivered the keynote address regarding the attempts being made to rebuild Louisiana’s health-care system.

Lemoine said that when she became board chairman last year, her main goal was to have members work harmoniously for the betterment of the community, and she believes that happened.

She said Chamber membership grew to nearly 820 members, while retention of members was at better than 88 percent. The Chamber’s financial status is on “solid ground” despite the down economy, and the organization is continuing its mission of promoting issues in Baton Rouge and Washington, D.C., that are important to businesses in Cenla.

Chamber officials were successfully able to recruit National Electronics Warranty Customer Service Companies Inc. — a customer-service company that is expected to bring 200 home-based jobs — to Cenla and are working to bring more businesses to the area, especially in light of the recent announcement that StarTek would leave Alexandria by the end of January.

“It has been a year of unprecedented financial challenges,” Lemoine said. “We continue to be challenged but remain ready to meet those challenges.”

Randolph said her main goals as chairman for the next year are “building a bridge to the future” by marketing Cenla’s assets and finding ways to use new, innovative ideas.

“We’ve made progress, but we all know there is much more work to be done, particularly in our area of the state,” she said.

Written by demon53

December 3, 2010 at 5:00 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Real Views, william broussard. william broussard said: After two decades, Central La. Chamber head Pody to retire in 2011: […]

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