The Effingham Chamber of Commerce has announced that Tess Hynes has been named its executive director.
Hynes has served for the past year as the marketing and events director and has been serving as interim director since Ken Stoner’s resignation last July.
“Tess brings a great skill set to us and has the enthusiasm, energy and background to be effective in our community,” said Chamber President Alice DeForest.
Prior to joining the Chamber, Hynes was a sales executive for Lamar Outdoor Advertising for five years. A native of Effingham County, she has a Masters of business administration from Georgia Southern University.
“My main focus will be on small businesses, membership retention, membership drives, gaining membership,” she said, “as well as the government side — the lobbying standpoint of what we need, what issues are coming up legislatively that we need to back for our businesses’ benefit.”
She also talked of the Chamber’s relationship with the Industrial Development Authority. She said both groups are working to try to bring into the county not just industries but restaurants and entertainment venues so fewer Effingham County residents will have to drive outside the county to spend their leisure dollars.
But she says that means attracting entrepreneurs to build here.
“It does take someone to open a business here in Effingham County,” she said. “It’s not just a corporation that we can just bring in. It’s still going to require someone to actually have the will and the want and the wishes to open that type of business,” she said.
“We need to work to expand not just our Effingham numbers, but our market coverage area and speak on a market coverage range, which includes some of the outside areas of Effingham County and more of a real drive-time distance.”
She also emphasized that the Chamber will continue to have their small business resource center, a place where entrepreneurs can bring their ideas or questions and find assistance and direction. And she was excited about the new Vision Effingham Team, which will begin meeting this month.
“We will be glad to get them going and getting some ideas for things such as entertainment venues and how we can drive those ideas to success,” Hynes said.
She also talked about the importance of building tourism for the county. She said she wants to get the word out about the county and for people to see its rich history.
“My biggest thing is, as we continue to grow, to keep that quality of life high and to preserve our history and increase our commerce and success,” Hynes said.