A voice for radio, a mind for business

Sparwood's new chamber of commerce manager steps out of his radio career and into the world of business

by Dan Williams
A man stands in front of a giant dump truck

John Himel, the new manager for the Sparwood & District Chamber of Commerce, stands in front of the world's largest dump truck in Sparwood.

Dan Williams photo

His office window faces the world’s largest dump truck–a reminder of where he is and his new role. John Himel is the new Sparwood and District Chamber of Commerce manager  and already he has rolled up his sleeves and is digging into the many files on his desk.

“The first big thing, “said Himel, “is to seek new memberships.”

Himel has worked in the local media for over 20 years and felt it was time for a change.

“I’ve wanted to be on the other side,” he said, referring to his clients that he sold advertising to.

Himel enjoys working with clients, a passion he brings to his new role from his time as an account marketing executive. He saw the opportunity to work with businesses and help them on their journey, and he is rewarded by their successes—a role he relishes.

The local chamber of commerce office can give businesses a voice in the areas of marketing, promotions and grant writing, providing them with tools to be more effective and ultimately more successful.

Facilitating dialogue and networking 

One new initiative that Himel is ushering in is the monthly business luncheon with guest speakers. The noon meetings will provide networking opportunities and a continuity in ongoing conversations between businesses. The first meeting will be held in the early fall, with former mayor, now Kootenay-Columbia MP, David Wilks scheduled to speak.

Himel believes that Sparwood has an opportunity as big as the 350-ton Titan truck outside his office due to the fact that the mining community is the first stop in B.C. for motorists crossing the border from southern Alberta.

With a new chamber website, an aggressive membership drive and luncheons to organize, and community folks to meet and greet, Himel has certainly rolled up his sleeves and jumped right in.

“I want to help our businesses any way I can,” Himel said. “From here I can be a voice and the janitor.” 

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