Chamber leader taking new job

Oct. 05, 2013 @ 03:00 PM

The High Point Chamber of Commerce’s leader says his pending move to another part of the state won’t prevent him from finishing his work on behalf of the organization.
Kelly Sain will take a new position with BB&T as the bank’s market president in Cary Nov. 1. He works in a similar capacity for BB&T in High Point. He said he plans to continue his work as chairman of the chamber’s board through the end of 2013, when his term expires.
Sain’s wife is from Raleigh and wanted to relocate to the area to help her mother out with her business, he said.
He plans to travel back and forth from the Triangle to High Point into early 2014 to finish out his term.
“It’s bittersweet to leave High Point,” he said.
Sain said his tenure has been marked by several accomplishments and challenges.
Tom Dayvault retired as chamber president in April, and Sain has spent a lot of time helping with the chamber’s day-to-day operations and working on a succession plan. The organization has been working to raise the money to satisfy a $2 million loan debt for renovations and improvements to its N. Main Street headquarters.
Sain said the chamber is current on its loan obligations, has cut expenses and has tapped into new revenue sources.
“Obviously, I inherited financial challenges. I think we’ve really been able to overcome those over the course of the year. I think going into 2014, the chamber will be as strong financially as it’s ever been,” he said.
Chamber representatives have reached out to companies and convinced many of them to renew or increase their support for the organization, he said. That led to some initial funding and some long-term funding commitments.
“I’m most pleased with getting people to come back to the chamber that maybe were alienated, for whatever reason, in the past,” he said.
Sain mentioned several accomplishments under his watch, including the upcoming move by the High Point Convention & Visitors Bureau to the chamber’s building and the development of new committees to better serve its approximately 600 paying members.
A government affairs committee is getting off the ground that will look at how to get the chamber to “take on a bigger advocacy role for members. We kind of floundered with that, and members said loud and clear that they want that,” he said. Another committee is working on ways to offer more services for the chamber’s small business members.
A new partnership that brought Guilford Technical Community College’s Small Business Center director to the chamber two days a week also occurred under his watch.
Sain said that, instead of hiring someone to replace Dayvault, the chamber may look at a merger of sorts with the High Point Partners, a group of business leaders. One possibility is to hire someone to run both organizations.
“There’s been a lot of discussion in the community around trying to unify the business voice in High Point,” he said. “I definitely believe we need to have one voice and, in some ways, I think it’s an opportunity for us to kind of put these two organizations together for the betterment of High Point.”