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Friday, May 6, 2016

Jeff Meredith hired as executive director of Monett Chamber

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Jeff Meredith stands in front of the Monett Chamber of Commerce and Licence Office building at 200 E. Broadway, where he will serve as the chamber's new executive director.
Jeff Meredith, a five and a half year veteran with the Joplin Area Chamber of Commerce, has been hired as the new executive director of the Monett Chamber of Commerce. Meredith succeeds Suzy McElmurry, who is retiring after 10 years in the position.

A lifelong resident of southwest Missouri, Meredith is a 1995 graduate of Neosho High School and completed his degree in information systems at Missouri Southern State University in 2002. He has lived in Joplin since college. He worked for two years as an administrative assistant at the Joplin chamber and most recently served as member relations coordinator.

"I'm excited for the opportunity to fill the position of executive director at the Monett chamber and continue the great work Suzy has been doing for the last 10 years," Meredith said.

Jeff Meredith looks over the Monett Chamber of Commerce membership directory with Suzy McElmurry, retiring chamber executive director. The directory is one of many tasks Meredith will manage as the new head of the chamber operations in Monett. [Times Photo by Murray Bishoff]
Active in community organizations, Meredith has served as president of the Greater Joplin Toastmasters organization. He is a public speaker and writer who started college as a history major, which he finds helps provide orientation for new situations.

"History is a passion with me for whatever I do," said Meredith. "My passion for Monett will grow."

Meredith likes seeing the industrial and cultural diversity in Monett. He is particularly interested in the Monett Main Street effort, similar to the Downtown Joplin Alliance in which Meredith has worked. He likes seeing the chamber office downtown, confirming the vested interest the chamber has in commerce and the city's center.

"I'm good at building connections," Meredith said. "The chamber's role is to facilitate and partner with different organizations. A big part of the job is learning what's going on and pointing people in the right direction."

Meredith speaks some Spanish and expects to use the skill in Monett.

"There are at least two very distinct ethnic groups in Monett," Meredith said. "I think we need to embrace each other's culture and see what we can do to build Monett together. Our kids play together and go to school together. Let's bridge the cultural divide."

One unique feature about the Monett chamber that appeals to Meredith is its long history of running the Division of Motor Vehicles office for the Missouri Department of Revenue. He looks forward to learning about the service and continuing the office's local presence for the long-term.

Chamber board members expressed an interest to Meredith in his experience working with a larger chamber and how that perspective can help. Meredith plans to start his job full-time on May 14 and move to Monett by June 1.

"You can't be the executive director of a chamber without being part of the community," Meredith said. "There's no reason to put it off. You get a parent, a coach and a committed partner to contribute to the growth and success of Monett."

Meredith's biggest passion is his seven-year-old son, Drew. Part of the attraction Monett offers is as a home for his son.

"Monett has a small town feel to it," Meredith said. "It's a safe place for my child to grow up and ride his bike on the streets."

"I'm excited to have someone of Jeff's caliber on board," said Walter Branch, chamber president. "He's very talented, organized and extremely motivated. Add that to his experience, and it spells a very exciting future for the chamber."

Meredith has professional and personal obligations to address in Joplin for the rest of the week. He said he looks forward to meeting people and getting down to work next week.

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