Wahl resigns as chamber executive director

RANTOUL — Rantoul Area Chamber of Commerce will begin the process of looking for a new executive director following the resignation of Kellie Wahl from the position, effective later this year.

Wahl, who has held the post since October 2014, will continue in the role until after the July 4 Rantoul Freedom Celebration.

She said she has accepted a position to teach physical education at J.W. Eater Junior High School.

“You can do a lot of good working with a public entity like the chamber of commerce, but when you get the chance to change the minds and perceptions (of children) at an early age, ... you can’t turn that opportunity down,” Wahl said.

A graduate of the University of Illinois, where she majored in kinesiology and is certified in K-12, driver’s education and coaching, Wahl, said she has held several teaching-coaching positions, including Tolono, Mahomet and Rantoul.

Wahl, who is 33, said she enjoyed the challenge of the chamber position, and called the decision to step down a difficult one, but said she needed to think about what is best for her family’s future.

“When a higher-paying job presents itself along with benefits and retirement,” you have to consider it, Wahl said. “You’re not a kid anymore. Sometimes you have to do things out of necessity.”

Wahl said she has a passion for teaching and children, especially the middle school-junior high age group.

She said she also looks forward to getting back into coaching in the future.

Chamber board President Todd Modglin said Wahl has done “an amazing job.”

“She’s kind of, I think, kick-started the chamber, and I think it’s definitely on the right track,” Modglin said. “I think the chamber has a lot that it can do for the community, and it does.”

Modglin said Wahl has set up a series of “checks and balances” that will benefit the chamber in the future.

“It’s going to be really hard” to replace her, he said. “We hope to have some really good applicants. We know there are people in Rantoul and surrounding communities ... that can perform the job.”

The chamber will accept candidates to fill the executive director position until 3 p.m. Friday, May 26. Interviews will begin the week of May 29.

Candidates must submit a cover letter, resume and references to the RACC office at 120 E. Sangamon Ave. or email office@rantoulchamber.com

Wahl has overseen a number of changes/additions in her 2 1/2 years on the job.

One of the more visible changes was moving the chamber office from Rantoul Business Center to Sangamon Avenue downtown, where Wahl has been a leading advocate for local development.

She cited among the highlights, “bringing new life to the Rantoul Freedom Celebration with the number of activities we have now, being part of the farmers market and other community events from Realtors Experience to bringing back Lunch and Learn. And then just working with our board. We have such a forward-thinking board.”

Wahl said the July 4 celebration will become a week-long event and will include the return of a carnival.

She said being able to do the work in her hometown is especially rewarding.

Another accomplishment was the chamber being given two billboards on Interstate 57 that had been owned by the now-closed Chanute Air Museum. Chamber members will be able to advertise there, with the revenue coming to the chamber.

Wahl also started the Rantoul Fall Festival, directed the downtown Christmas parade, was active in the RACC golf outing and USO dance and headed the annual chamber banquet, Constitution Grove beautification, Business After Hours and brought the Kelly Miller Circus to town

“I can’t name all of the highs,” Wahl said. “It’s so hard to think of all the things that have happened.”

The chamber, which has about 200 members, will also be looking to hire a new administrative assistant.

dhinton@rantoulpress.com
 

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