Sargeant tapped to lead local chamberFelicia Sargeant’s top goal as the new Jamestown Area Chamber of Commerce executive director is attracting new members and retaining current members. The former director of the National Buffalo Museum, Sargeant started at the chamber on Jan. 3 about a month after accepting the new job.
By: By Chris Olson, The Jamestown Sun, The Jamestown Sun
Felicia Sargeant’s top goal as the new Jamestown Area Chamber of Commerce executive director is attracting new members and retaining current members.
The former director of the National Buffalo Museum, Sargeant started at the chamber on Jan. 3 about a month after accepting the new job.
“I wanted to give as much time as I could to the National Buffalo Museum, as I had worked there for 10 years,” she said. Sargeant said she enjoyed her time at the museum, but felt she needed a change.
She was a chamber ambassador and had worked with most of the businesses in Jamestown as the museum is a non-profit organization.
“When I sat down for my interview it felt like I was sitting down with a group of friends, we all knew each other,” she said.
Sargeant said the No. 1 goal the chamber board set for her is gaining new members and keeping the current ones.
“It’s of vital importance when you’re a membership-driven organization,” Sargeant said.
But, before she and staff member Lisa Hicks get moving on that goal, they first have to organize the chamber’s 82nd Annual Awards Banquet set for Jan. 31, and the Home and Garden Show scheduled for March 9 and 10 at the Jamestown Civic Center.
“I have never organized either of these events before, so it’s a learning process for me and Lisa,” Sargeant said. “Once we get through the next couple of months, then we’ll be able to get to work on the membership goal.”
A planned fertilizer plant at Spiritwood, N.D,. could occupy some of Sargeant’s time as well. In September 2012, CHS Inc. announced it would be building the Spiritwood Nitrogen Project at the Spiritwood Energy Park Association Industrial Park 10 miles east of Jamestown. The $1.2 billion plant will produce 2,200 tons of ammonia daily when completed and supply anhydrous ammonia and other fertilizers to farm supply retails and farmers in the Dakotas, Minnesota, Montana and Canada. The project will cover 200 acres of the industrial park and is expected to be completed by 2016.
Sargeant said the chamber is ready to assist the project in any way it can. But, generally the chamber only promotes businesses that are members. She said she does believe the project will be a boon to the area
“I think there will definitely be an influx of people with this work,” Sargeant said. “There may be a shortage of rentals and homes, depending on how permanent some of those people may be.”
Sargeant said she wants to continue and grow the partnerships the chamber has with civic and government groups and businesses in town.
“We share a building with Jamestown/Stutsman Development Corp. and the South Central Dakota Regional Council,” she said. Sargeant said these are the kind of relationships the chamber needs to keep and expand upon.
The chamber will be hosting a monthly business training series starting next month.
“These training sessions are for people who are already employed and are dealing with issues like workplace stress,” she said.
Sargeant said the chamber will host a public meet-and-greet with state legislators in March. “We’re going to hold on a Saturday so people can come in and get a chance to ask questions and meet with the legislators,” she said.
Sun reporter Chris Olson can be reached at 701-952-8454 or by email at email@example.com