'My job is to steer the ship a little bit,' is the way Dr. Dale Rhoney describes being the new president of the Lake Oswego Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors.
That's a pretty modest way to look at Rhoney's low-key but ambitious plan to improve Lake Oswego. In Rhoney's case, a little will mean a lot.
'I want to represent Lake Oswego's business interests and make it a better place to live, work and play,' Rhoney said. 'I want to stabilize the chamber's financial situation and help provide better value for its members. I want to continue our successful programs, like Fusion, in which the chamber partners with other organizations for the betterment of the city.
'Internally, I want to try to develop committees that will function autonomously, with the idea of functioning better and providing more value.'
Things are off to a fast start in the Rhoney era, with the chamber now offering a city map, something long desired by the local populace, and teaming with Clackamas County Tourism Bureau to provide a restaurant guide, which will be available at city hall, hotels and motels, as well as the chamber office.
'Members have never been getting more from the chamber than they're getting now,' Rhoney said. 'The services, the information, the support, the value. We have networking every Friday. We have ribbon cuttings. We now have 38 people taking our leadership class.
'We now have 670 members, and we're just coming off a successful membership drive. But we not only want to get more members, we want to keep them. We want to have a sustaining membership.'
While this is Rhoney's first stint as chamber president, he has been working to make Lake Oswego a better place for several decades. He first came here 30 years to begin his practice as an orthodontist.
'I was the youngest dentist in town back then,' he said. 'If I'm not the oldest now, I'm close.'
Rhoney has filled those years with service to the city. He is a past president of the Lake Oswego Rotary Club, Rotarian of the Year, past president of the Lake Oswego School Board Foundation, and in 2004, was chosen as Lake Oswego Community Leader of the Year.
Four years ago Rhoney joined the chamber board and has steadily moved up to the executive level. He can devote more time to his new position now that he has retired as head of the orthodontics department at OHSU, a post he held for 25 years.
Jerry Wheeler, executive director of the chamber, anticipates a productive year working with Rhoney.
'It has been great working with Dale on the board,' Wheeler said. 'We're both most certainly on the same page as far as the direction we want the chamber to go.
'Dale is a very easy guy to work with, but he also has very definite ideas. I appreciate his candor.'