"MacArthur to leave Chamber, fly south"
June 9, 2008 · Updated 3:37 PM
"Chamber of Commerce executive director Jack MacArthur will retire at the end of September and begin splitting his time between Bainbridge Island and Palm Island, Fla.MacArthur became active in the chamber in 1992 when he and wife Anne moved to Bainbridge. He had retired from a career in health-information systems, and she was working in Seattle.I was looking for something to do, so I got involved with the chamber, he said. One thing led to another, and I was put on the board and eventually became president.In 1997, after his term as chamber president ended, he ran for mayor, losing to Dwight Sutton.I woke up the next morning wondering why I should get out of bed, he said. The chamber had created the executive director position while he was on the board, but the first two people in the position lasted only a few months each. When the position opened up again in February 1998, MacArthur took the job, first on an interim and then a permanent basis.What he found was an organization foundering. The chamber was $12,000 in debt, and had just 300 members, he said.His first task was to get spending under control. Then he set about to increase membership and raise more money.I'm an operations person, he said. You dream it up and I'll make it work.And he has. The chamber had 635 members as of Jan. 31, and is solvent.Expenses are up seven percent since 1998, MacArthur said, while revenue is up 36 percent.A substantial portion of the chamber's success is attributable to Jack's ability to attract and retain members, past president Kent Kass said. He has given us direction in choosing our battles wisely, and has been a steadying influence on our continued growth.The hunt for a replacement begins today with formation of a search committee. Resumes will be solicited through June, with the goal of finding a replacement to start Sept. 1 for a transition period.The ideal candidate would be somebody on the island, who is already involved and knows the non-profits, the city, the media, and understands the business climate, MacArthur said.MacArthur will continue chamber work on a volunteer basis during his time on Bainbridge. And while he is in Florida?I might work as a grocery-store bagger or a greeter at Wal-Mart, he said. They use a lot of old people. "