Chamber director old and new

Terri Crain took over Maricopa Chamber of Commerce leadership on May 15.

MARICOPA — The Maricopa Chamber of Commerce has a new leader, though it’s a familiar face.

The chamber announced Tuesday that Sara Troyer, who was named its executive director in March 2016, will have her last day at her position on May 12 before she takes a new job. She will become a program specialist at the College of DuPage Center for Entrepreneurship in Glen Ellyn, Illinois.

Taking Troyer’s place will be Terri Crain, who served in a leadership role at the chamber from 2006 to 2011, eventually becoming executive director. She left the top post in late 2010 to take a job as CEO of Santa Clarita Valley Chamber of Commerce in California.

Crain told PinalCentral that she was looking for a job in the Phoenix area when the chamber informed her that Troyer had given them notice that she was leaving. At that point, discussions began on bringing Crain back to lead the organization.

Troyer, a Maricopa High School graduate, was named executive director last year as a 20-year-old Arizona State University student. The chamber release touted her successes, including a 12 percent growth in membership and an event attendance increase of 35 percent. According to the release, services for businesses also increased, including one-on-one help for members seeking to expand their digital presence.

When filling this position in the past, there has typically been a hiring process that involved announcing multiple candidates and allowing chamber members to meet them. The sudden announcement is a change from that, and Board President Chris Cahall said the board will not be making any comment on what the hiring process entailed.

“The membership put the board in charge to make decisions to make sure the chamber is covered and staffed properly,” Cahall said.

He celebrated this announcement as ensuring that the transition goes as smooth as possible. Crain will be on hand this week to work with the board and Troyer, and Cahall said there will be minimal gaps where volunteers and board members will have to run the office. The transition plans will be finalized at this week’s board meeting.

“The board had the opportunity to move quickly with Terri,” Cahall said. “We did that on behalf of the chamber members so we didn’t have a two-month stretch where we were looking.”

Crain said she wants to look toward the future instead of the past. After she left the chamber, the organization went through a trying couple of years that saw several leaders come and go. This included Jim McMichael being asked to resign by some members of the board, while other members claimed to have not been informed about the decision.

The man chosen to replace McMichael, John Kennedy, was arrested two months after that on charges of criminal trespass, harassment and extreme DUI. After a lengthy process, he was replaced by David Moss and Marla Lewis in 2013. Of those two, Moss left first, then Lewis abruptly resigned in January 2016, leading the way to Troyer’s hire.

The instability in the chamber led the Maricopa City Council to cut all of its $40,000 in annual funding in March 2013.

“What happened since I left is neither here nor there,” Crain said. “Whatever happened is all history. I just want to start new things, and I don’t want to dwell on past hurts and past grievances.”

Crain said she is excited to return to the place that has always been home, and that most her for closest long-term relationships are within the city’s business community. She wants to take the knowledge she has accumulated from leading the third largest chamber in Los Angeles County and bring it back to Maricopa.

There is a lot of opportunity in this city, Crain said, and she has some ideas about how to bring better services to chamber members. However, she wants to discuss those ideas with the board before she makes them public.

“I look forward to uniting the chamber and getting people rolling,” Crain said. “Let’s have some fun, let’s do some stuff and let’s make some money.”