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Guilderland Chamber names new boss

The Guilderland Chamber of Commerce has appointed a new executive director, Katherine Burbank, to replace Jane Schramm, who ended her 10-year term at the chamber in July. Burbank, who will begin her term Aug. 20, is married with five children, and has lived in the Guilderland area for several years.

As my children have grown, this perfect opportunity came up, and I have many years of experience and feel ready for it, she said.

Burbank, 42, has a master's degree in social work and nonprofit management from the University at Albany and has 10 years of experience in fundraising, program development, human resources, and working with the business and nonprofit community. Her position for the past four years has been with Interfaith Partnership for the Homeless in Albany. Before that, she worked for United Way of Northeastern New York in Guilderland.

She applied for the position at the Chamber in June and was selected by a search committee. Roger Lipera, chairman of the board at the Chamber, said they were looking for someone who understood how to work well with local business, community, government and nonprofit organizations, and someone who had the ability to establish and maintain good relationships with the county.

Lipera said they had considered many great candidates but narrowed it down to Burbank because they felt she was the best fit for the organization.

"We believe she has the ability to build on the solid foundation that Jane Schramm left us," he said. "She has a great deal of enthusiasm, and we intend to tap into that enthusiasm right away."

As far as how the Chamber will be now be run, Lipera and Burbank both said no major changes will be made. Overall, they said, the goals are the same: to increase membership, build stronger relationships with the business community and state government, and sustain good relationships with other chambers in the area.

Burbank said she is looking to grow and maintain what Schramm had started, but also has some personal goals of her own. They are improving technology and employment for the future of small businesses, as well as addressing rising gas prices and telecommuting, or "things that make it easier and cost less to run a business," she said.

More information can be found at the Chamber's Web site www.guilderlandchamber.com.

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