Business owner is known for expertise, fun-loving personality

The Sandy Area Chamber of Commerce board voted unanimously at its June 19 meeting to hire Mitch Speck as the next executive director of the chamber.

After Hollis MacLean-Wenzel, executive director for more than four years, resigned in late May to continue her recovery from breast cancer and spend more time with her family, the chamber board went to work with hiring a new director.

In an email letter Saturday, Chamber Chairwoman Laura Allen wrote that after posting the job, reviewing resumes and interviewing more than one dozen qualified candidates, Speck, the acting interim director, was selected.

by: SUBMITTED PHOTO - Mitch Speck"His managerial experience, tenacity and uplifting personality are a great fit for the chamber and the Sandy community," Allen wrote. "We look forward to working with Mitch to provide exceptional value to our members and to grow our business community."

Speck and his wife, Debbie, have run their business, Specktacular Home Remodeling, for 20 years and became chamber members in 2006.

In December, Speck became interim executive director after MacLean-Wenzel took a medical leave.

"I wasn't thinking longterm at the beginning - it was an interim position," Speck said. "Over the last few months, I've really enjoyed interacting with business owners, city and county officials and the community at large. I'm ready to do this. Our business is in a good spot, and this is an opportunity to utilize my skills in a different way."

Speck's family moved to Sandy in 1978. After he graduated from Sandy High School, Speck studied civil engineering at Portland State University and served in the United States Air Force.

He and Debbie started their business in 1992 in Gresham, but Sandy drew them back in 2000.

"I really feel Sandy has the big-town amenities with the small-town feel," Speck said. "My gut says we're ahead of the curve. We'll continue to be ahead of the curve with the economy turning around and a new high school. We have the right people in our community - very strong leaders and citizens. It's fun to be a part of that positive energy."

Speck says his immediate goal as executive director is to continue the strategic plan the board worked through last fall that emphasizes supporting business and growing community.

"We know that we need a strong community and strong business community to thrive," Speck said.

Longer term, Speck said he would like to grow the chamber membership, programs and services. He would like to expand governmental affairs and continue events like Fall for the Arts (currently called Fall for Sandy), Music Fair and Feast and Sandy Brewfest that are designed for both the community and tourists.

Jerry Knowlton, a board member, noted that after spending two full days working the Sandy Brewfest, Speck took the time at the end of the day Saturday to ask event attendees how the chamber did with the event.

"He's a real pro," Knowlton said. "We're very fortunate that at a time when we're losing a really good director, who's done super things, Mitch was there. We saw him do the job effectively as a temp for months. We saw him to be thorough, organized, honest, thoughtful and inclusive."

Another board member, Julia Monteith, noticed that Speck jumped right in from day one, helping the board through a process of developing goals and objectives.

"He's very approachable," she said. "The thing that stands out is his experience and expertise with business management."

Karey Milne, chamber office manager, said she appreciates Speck's fun-loving personality and positive energy.

"He really wants to do good for the chamber - to grow with it, keep the changes that have been going, and keep momentum up."

Allen added that Speck is an excellent manager and inspires employees to be the best they can be. She said she's excited to have him bring new life to the chamber.

The Specks will continue with Specktacular, but focus on office management, design work and project management, as opposed to having Speck physically work on the sites.

Speck has two daughters in college, Katie, 19, and Jessica, 21, says Specktacular wouldn't be the business it is without Debbie.

"We've truly been a team for 20 years," he says.

Looking ahead in his new position, Speck remains focused on community.

"The people and relationships - that's really it," Speck says. "You know people by name in Sandy."

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