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Hard-working Chuck OLeary leads chamber

The old saying goes that if you want a job done, give it to a busy man.

Chuck O'Leary truly lives up to that axiom as he begins his term as president of the Lake Oswego Chamber of Com-merce.

O'Leary has a long, long list of honors and community activities, most recently being named Community Leader of the Year for 2011.

But he has decided he can do a little more. He is excited about the opportunity.

'My role as president will have me focused on continuing to improve what the chamber has traditionally done well,' O'Leary said, 'while also evolving the chamber to better advocate and create the conditions for the success of our members.

'Being president this year will be challenging, but new beginnings are always exciting. I have the good fortune of working with a tremendous board and a very capable and committed chamber office staff.

'This is an opportunity that may not come our way again, and we are committed to getting it right.'

O'Leary won't have a chance for a 'honeymoon' period as chamber president because he is already searching for a new chief executive officer to replace Jerry Wheeler, who has moved to Huntington Beach, Calif., where he is serving as chamber director.

'The selection of our next executive director will be a critical step in the chamber's strategic planning process,' O'Leary said. 'It will provide a unique opportunity to consider both our short and long-term vision and the structure of our organization.'

As for business in Lake Oswego, O'Leary says he and the new director will seek to speed up the pace of redevelopment in the commercial zones in downtown and Lake Grove.

However, O'Leary thinks that overall the economy of Lake Oswego is in fine shape.

'I think we're fortunate that our local economy remains as strong as it is,' he said. 'Certainly, many of our local businesses are struggling mightily right now, but I am encouraged to see not only continued investment in our existing businesses, but gratified to see new businesses recognizing Lake Oswego as the great community it is.'

O'Leary is held in much esteem and respect by his fellow community movers and shakers. One of them is his high-energy predecessor as chamber president, Jim Franceus.

'Chuck is as hard a worker on behalf of the chamber as I've ever seen,' Franceus said. 'He believes in the mission of the chamber and wants to see business play a bigger role in helping this community thrive.

'Chuck is a visionary. He sees the future, is open to change, and sees that as a positive in a changing world.'

O'Leary will spend August on such heavy projects as Leadership Lake Oswego, the summer membership drive, Friday networking, business education programs, and guiding the promising new organization Young Profes-sionals of Lake Oswego.

Like everything he touches, O'Leary is expected to leave the chamber of commerce and Lake Oswego better than ever by the time he completes his year as president.