Leadership changes are in the works at the Canal Winchester Area Chamber of Commerce following the February resignation of former president Kim Rankin.

Leadership changes are in the works at the Canal Winchester Area Chamber of Commerce following the February resignation of former president Kim Rankin.

Chamber board chair Jim Long said longtime member Bobbi Guitner recently was hired as office administrator and will fulfill many of the duties previously handled by Rankin.

Rankin had served as president of the chamber since 2005.

"We received Kim's letter of resignation on Feb. 20," Long said. "We are grateful for her work with the chamber and wish her the best in her new endeavors.

"The board is very excited to have Bobbi on staff now," Long said. "The new energy she's bringing to the chamber is great and we're getting great feedback already from the leadership of Canal Winchester."

Guitner grew up in Columbus and has lived in Canal Winchester with her husband, Jeff, for more than 20 years, she said. The two have been married for 39 years and are both business owners: She serves as a distributor for Easton Telecom and Jeff Guitner runs Greenstar Landscaping.

"I spent 35 years owning my own business," Guitner said. "Once I owned my own business, I got involved with the chamber and from that first experience, I thought about what a great job it would be to work for the chamber."

Guitner said the opportunity came about by chance.

"I'd called the office to renew my membership as an Easton distributor when I found out that Kim was no longer here. At that point, I knew I wanted to get an interview because I thought it would be a good fit," she said.

Long and the board agreed.

"We're really looking forward to working with Bobbi and forging new relationships while we create opportunities for the Canal Winchester business community," Long said.

According to Long, Southeast Franklin County Chamber of Commerce executive director Heather Bolin has been a great resource during the transition.

"I'm still learning as it's only been two weeks, but our goal is to work closely with Destination: Canal Winchester and the city on partnerships to increase membership and networking events for our members," Guitner said. "We want to make this the type of thing that businesses feel they need to belong to.

"I really enjoy the friendships I'm making with the great people who are our business community."

Prior to leaving, Rankin oversaw an update of the chamber website, which, according to Guitner, is still evolving. She said the website will become more user-friendly and visually appealing during the coming months.

At the chamber's annual business expo and awards dinner on March 9, members honored outgoing board chair Melva Cottrila and welcomed Long as new board chair.

The chamber also recognized Karen Stiles as the 2012 Pillar of the Community, Peg Tobin as the 2012 Businessperson of the Year and Wagner Insurance as the Business of the Year.

More information about the chamber is available online at www.canalwinchester.com.