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Wasden to take over as new Chamber director

By J.R. Tidwell / Editor

Those in attendance for the Chilton County Chamber of Commerce’s monthly luncheon on June 5 were able to meet the woman who will soon be taking over as director of the group.

Francine Wasden will be taking over as Chamber director from Janice Hull sometime either in late August or early September. Hull had planned to only be in the position temporarily when she stepped into the role.

“I am going to make my way here and visit with the girls and come to work a day or so a week (before taking over as director full time) just to be with them, learn people and where everything is, that sort of thing,” Wasden said. “I’m excited about it.”

Wasden has been in the same role at the Greenville Area Chamber of Commerce in Butler County.

“I am originally from Monroeville,” she said. “I am married to Ray Wasden. I have two grown children and six grandchildren. I have completed 11 years at the Greenville Area Chamber of Commerce. I ended that career at the end of April. I am looking forward to a new challenge, moving to Chilton County and getting involved with the Chamber. I would like to bring in some of the events that we have done and some of the positive things we have learned to Chilton County.”

Wasden said she was contemplating a career change when circumstance put her in contact with some members of the Chilton County Chamber.

“I have known Janice Hull, Connie Bainbridge and Jim Byard for several years,” she said. “We have an ambassador program for 10th, 11th and 12th graders [in Greenville]. They called me about that wanting to start a program like that here in Chilton County. Through that conversation, one thing led to the other, and I told them I was looking at doing something different or maybe retiring. I was thinking of making a career change. They talked me into coming and looking at Chilton County.”

During her tenure, Wasden said the Greenville Chamber had “really grown.”

“I have a sales and marketing background, so it has been a really good fit for me,” she said. “I started with about 170 members, and we were at close to 340 now. I have enjoyed it. I love meeting new people. I think that I can make a difference, and that’s what I’m all about.”

Wasden discussed some of her major goals for when she steps into the director position with the Chilton County Chamber.

“We want to grow our membership, of course,” she said. “We want to be actively involved with economic development. The Chamber wants to be involved with bringing new businesses to town as well as keeping the ones we already have thriving.

“Our mission is to have a better quality of life for citizens, to help with workforce development and education. We want to be good promoters of Chilton County — Clanton and the surrounding towns. There are some very viable towns that are also in Chilton County, We are excited with working with those communities.”