New president Neil Wyper of Wyper Law (at right) with (from left to right) director Deborah Moore from RE/MAX, treasurer Tracy Van Raes from Total Restoration, director Tyson Still from Winecrush and vice president Julie Read from the Wildstone Group. Mark Brett/Western News

New chair takes the helm for chamber of commerce

Penticton barrister Neil Wyper is moving into the president’s chair at the chamber of commerce

Penticton barrister Neil Wyper is moving into the president’s chair of the Penticton &Wine Country Chamber of Commerce.

Wyper, of Wyper Law, was elected to take over the helm of the chamber at Wednesday’s annual general meeting and he has set a grassroots mandate for his upcoming two-year term.

“There’s more to explore in terms of what people are after,” said Wyper, who takes over from outgoing president Michael Magnusson. “One of the things to work on is better understanding what people are looking for. It may be that they’re happy already but I just think we need to better understand that. I’m looking forward to really focusing on identifying and being able to explain to members what the value of being in the chamber is.

“I think we’ve done a lot of work in the last year moving into a new building and getting things in place and this year we want to work to engage with members to make sure it’s clear why they should be part of the chamber and what the chamber can do for them.”

One of the things he would like to see improved is the number of people attending events like the Business After Business, which take place every about every two weeks in an informal setting, providing an excellent opportunity on networking.

“Even when we have good attendance at the Business After Business say, close to a 100 people, that’s still a fraction of our membership,” said Wyper. “So I think we need to look at other ways of connecting with other members who choose not to go to those kind of events and try to understand why those other members aren’t getting engaged in that way.”

Membership in the chamber is currently just under 600.

The new president would also like to see the chamber better representing businesses than in the past when it comes to dealing with governments, especially at the municipal level.

“I think there’s a lot of room for us to work more closely with the city on issues as they come up,” he said. “It’s an exciting opportunity for us to have a chamber that’s in pretty good shape right now and we can focus on adding value or clarifying what the value is for our members.

“I think we’ve got a great team and there’s a lot going on. I’m really honoured to be asked to be a part of it.”

The full list of board members includes the new leadership:

• President: Neil Wyper (Wyper Law)

• Vice-President: Julie Read (Wildstone Group)

• Treasurer: Tracy Van Raes (Total Restoration)

• Past-President: Michael Magnusson (Cascades Casino)

Regular directors:

• Director: Don Brown (Brown Benefits)

• Director: Daryl Clarke (independent)

• Director: Jason Cox (The People’s Soda)

• Director: Harley Elasoff (The Sandman)

• Director: Christine Felts (Felts Photo Services)

• Director: Derek George (Boston Pizza)

• Director: Natalie Grant (Grant Media)

• Director: Deborah Moore (Remax)

• Director: Leah Schulting (South Okanagan Medical Foundation)

• Director: Tyson Still (Winecrush)

• Director: Diana Stirling (LocoLanding)