By CRISTIN REECE
The Palestine Area Chamber of Commerce has a new executive director.
Marc Mitchell, 42, and his family were house hunting in Palestine this week since the Austin resident accepted the Chamber’s position recently. He officially starts Aug. 19.
“My family and I are absolutely thrilled,” Mitchell said Wednesday. “It’s been such a great day — meeting great people, touring the city, looking for houses. It’s just awesome.
“I grew up in a community very similar in size to this one.”
Chamber Board President Alan George said the board received 16 applications and interviewed six candidates before choosing Mitchell for the job.
“Marc was, by far, the strongest candidate we spoke with,” George said. “He’s got a very strong background and has been involved with lots of chambers. We’re extremely pleased to add him to our team.”
Originally from Maine, Mitchell is, most recently, the development director for the Down Syndrome Association of Central Texas. He graduated with a bachelor of arts degree in journalism and broadcasting from Oklahoma State University in 1996.
He’s been a member of the Greater Austin Area Chamber’s Membership Advisory Council and judged that chamber’s 2012 Business Awards; he served on the planning committee of the Kennebec Valley Chamber’s Whatever Family Festival — the largest family festival in Maine — for seven years and co-chaired that event for six years as well.
“What initially struck me about Palestine is the way it seems to be celebrating its past at the same time being excited about its future,” Mitchell said. “Its historical aspects are so strong within the community, and at the same time, the people here aren’t afraid to push for the future. I’m looking forward to getting to be a part of that.”
Mitchell said he felt like the Chamber’s main job is to support the city’s businesses and help local business owners find the best ways to grow each business.
“From what I’ve seen there are several strong partnerships within the city,” he said. “And I want to continue to build those relationships and strengthen the Chamber’s support of those partnerships.”
Mitchell and wife, Allison, have three boys ages 9, 5 and 3.
“I want to thank the board and the Chamber’s staff for allowing me this wonderful opportunity,” Mitchell said. “We’re all very excited to become part of this community.”