City employee Kilroy hired as Chamber of Commerce chief|[6/10/06]

Published 12:00 am Monday, June 12, 2006

Christi Kilroy, elected this week to the post of executive director of the Vicksburg-Warren County Chamber of Commerce, said she is ready to sign on in two weeks to run the 112-year-old promotional group.

&#8220A lot of work I’ve done with the city has overlapped,” said Kilroy, who has been special projects manager for the City of Vicksburg since November 2004. &#8220This is an opportunity to spread my wings and make a difference in Vicksburg, which is real important to me.”

In a unanimous vote, 15 members of the Chamber’s Board of Directors voted over two days this week to hire Kilroy, who will be paid $50,000 plus incentives, sources indicated.

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Kilroy officially takes the reins June 26.

Kilroy, 37, moved to Vicksburg from San Francisco in March 2004. Before moving here, she ran her own company, called C. Wallace & Associates, for eight years working with tax incentives and economic development.

As special projects manager for the city, Kilroy has helped plan and organize city events, attended conferences geared toward bringing retailers and businesses to Vicksburg and sat on various committees, such as the Hispanic Task Force, to provide continued growth in the city.

As Chamber president, Kilroy said she will continue her mission by following the organization’s specific Program of Work, which focuses on community development, governmental services, internal development, membership services and retirement development.

&#8220The mechanism is in place,” she said. &#8220My goal is to implement that to make sure we’re reaching the goals – to follow the path that has been set.”

The Chamber has been without a director since December 2005, when then-director Peggy Martin retired. When Diane Gawronski came in as board president in January, the four staff positions – executive director, receptionist, office manager and director of retirement development – were vacant.

When the Vicksburg-Warren Community Alliance hired Scott Martinez as director in February, the Chamber board decided to suspend the search for executive director, naming him as interim director and filling two of the four staff positions.

Developed in 1894, the Chamber now is working with the Alliance to find ways to move forward in a collaborative effort, Gawronski said.

Kilroy, who applied for the job in January and was notified this week of the board’s decision to hire her, said she is excited about Vicksburg’s future.

&#8220We have new staff members, and we’re going to be building on something that’s so strong,” she said.

Gawronski said Kilroy was the best candidate for the job because of her knowledge of city and county government and retail and business.

Gawronski and Kilroy attended the International Council of Shopping Centers.

&#8220I was most favorably impressed with the numerous connections she has maintained and nurtured with retailers and developers,” Gawronski said. &#8220She is a great asset to our Chamber.”

Kilroy and her husband, Jay Kilroy, have a 4-month-old daughter.