After more than a decade of careful guidance and leadership, Beverly resident Glen Miller soon will be stepping down from his role as president of the Muskingum Valley Area Chamber of Commerce.
"I just thought it was time to let a younger person take over. I've been there 10 or 11 years and sometimes it is good for the chamber to get younger people involved," said Miller, 77, who will step down Jan. 1.
When Miller started his role as president, the MVACC actually had a budget deficit, he said.
The organization has grown to the point that is now gives out more than $10,000 annually to area nonprofit organizations including the Southeastern Ohio Port Authority, local schools and area museums, said board member Kevin Rings, who will soon take over the role of chamber vice president.
"There would be no chamber without Glen. When he took over, the chamber was $1,500 in debt. Now the chamber is growing and thriving and financially solvent," he said.
Beyond its main purpose of fostering business, the chamber's dedication to philanthropy is part of what makes it so special to him, said Miller.
"We're the only chamber that does this, that gives money out to the nonprofit organizations in our county," he said.
Not to mention, said Miller, that they do it all with no budget.
"It's all volunteer. I have never received a thing from the chamber and our directors have never received anything," he added.
Of all the philanthropy the MVACC takes part in, Miller said he has particularly enjoyed giving out two $1,000 scholarships to local high school students every year.
"I'm proud that we're able to do that...They are very smart kids and so that makes me feel good every year," he said.
Though Miller will be taking off his presidential hat, he and his years of experience will not be going far. Miller plans on transitioning into a role as a member of MVACC's Board of Directors.
"Glen has done a great job. I agreed to step up as president as long as Glen stayed on as director. He has a wealth of knowledge," said Beverly resident Rick Walters, 56, who will assume the position of president.
Walters, a partner at Dietz, Futrell & Walters Insurance, Inc., has been a MVACC director for five years and has served as the vice president for the past two years.
"It's been a learning experience and all the directors for the chamber work very hard," he said.
Walters said he plans on maintaining that work ethic in the hopes of attracting even more small business into the coverage area, which includes parts of Washington, Noble and Morgan Counties.
"I think the chamber is a product of small business owners. I think that's the benefit of having a vibrant, active chamber is that it helps area business," he added.
For now, Walters does not have any big changes in mind, but hopes to continue the chamber's monthly business meetings, which he credits for the organization's success. The meetings, held at 11:30 a.m. the first Wednesday of each month, always offer an interesting speaker or two and usually attract upwards of 40 people.
"I think that's been part of the reason for success. There has been continuous activity," Walters said.
The next meeting, to be held Dec. 5, will be Miller's last as president. In keeping with the chamber's philosophy of giving, the meeting will also double as a toy drive.
"Everyone was told if you bring a toy, your meal was free. We're collecting for Toys For Children which is done through the Beverly American Legion," said Miller.
Miller is sure to have a lot of free time after he hands over the reigns. As MVACC's president, he has certainly put in the hours, said Rings.
"Glen just does it. He doesn't sit and complain. He genuinely likes what he does," said Rings.
As to what Miller will do with his new free time, golf and travel are at the top of his list.
"This will also give me some extra time to go see my grandkids," he said.