The Waldport Chamber of Commerce is pleased to announce the hiring of their first Executive Director, Laura Furgurson. In an effort to expand and enhance Waldport’s marketing efforts and visitor reach, this half-time position is funded by a three-year grant from the Lincoln County Commissioners.
In this new leadership role, Ms. Furgurson’s focus will be on tourism promotion, membership support and economic development.
Sue Woodruff, former Waldport Mayor and current Chamber Board member, says “We are so pleased to have Laura on board so our businesses and community will be able to have the attention and professionalism they deserve.” Laura has over 30 years of experience launching and leading both for-profit and non-profit organizations. She joins the Chamber with an extensive background in marketing, branding, market research, volunteer management, organizational development, tourism and hospitality. Ms. Furgurson is a Small Business Development Center instructor, certified leadership coach, Guest Gold Service trainer and a long-time business advisor.
Laura also currently serves half-time as the Executive Director for the Depoe Bay Chamber of Commerce. Ms. Furgurson is excited for this new opportunity. “There will be a lot of synergy between the two positions. Though the needs and objectives will be different, I am excited to leverage learnings and resources to support both communities.”
The Depoe Bay Chamber Board President Bill Johnson stated, “The Depoe Bay Chamber of Commerce collaborated with Waldport and Toledo Chambers to receive a tourism grant from the Lincoln County Commissioners. Through a dual contract, the Depoe Bay and Waldport Chambers have hired Laura Furgurson to be the Executive Director. This will greatly enhance the development and coordination of marketing in our two communities. Laura has substantial expertise, and experience, and will be a wonderful asset to both communities. The Depoe Bay Chamber is thrilled to be collaborating with Waldport, and with Laura leading both agencies.”
Regional and statewide destination marketing organizations are also very supportive of the combined roles. “Having a singular person dedicated to establishing processes and building marketing assets will ensure efficient use of resources, as well as ease of collaboration, not only between communities, but also with OCVA and Travel Oregon,” says OCVA Director Marcus Hinz.
Linda Eriksen, Waldport Board Member welcomes the expertise Laura brings to the table. “She is personable and professional. The Chamber welcomes her as a leader who will help us engage our members as we move the Chamber forward.”
Join the Waldport Chamber board and members to meet their new director during their October 10th luncheon meeting at the Waldport Moose Lodge starting at noon.
Similar grant funds for hiring staff were also received by the Toledo and Depoe Bay Chambers through a joint proposal submitted by the mayors of all three cities. A bit of background from the original funding proposal to the Lincoln County Commissioners.
Lincoln County’s room tax dollars were originally distributed to a consortium of the Chambers of Commerce. These funds were diverted to COCA to promote tourism throughout the County. Because these revenues are no longer being consigned to COCA, we are proposing that a portion be assigned to our small Chambers of Commerce. The need for this support is crucial, as our small chambers, with only volunteers, inadequately struggle to build our tourism economy because we lack any staffing funds.
1. Increase our effectiveness to promote tourism locally and throughout Lincoln County,
2. Strengthen the presence of our three small towns in the statewide tourism market.
3. Vitalize and build our local Chambers of Commerce and improve services to their members,
4. Organize and promote quality events to further enliven our communities and bring more tourists to Lincoln County, and
5. Strengthen connections between our chambers and local businesses, government entities, and organizations.