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Smith retires from chamber of commerce

Dec. 01, 2012 @ 12:06 AM

PROCTORVILLE -- Bob Smith has always tried to be precise.

That's why he still remembers the song he used to play when it was time to take a quick bathroom break when he was working at a Logan, W.Va., radio station. For the record, it was the country and western classic "El Paso."

The former WOWK-TV and WSAZ-TV anchor was honored Friday during the Lawrence County Area Chamber of Commerce monthly membership luncheon for the four years he has served as the chamber director.

In addition to getting an iPad from chamber officials, he and his wife, Billie, will get to choose from a dozen vacation proposals ranging from Tahiti to Australia to a Mediterranean cruise.

"I knew they were planning something, but I didn't know it would be this extensive with bringing in my relatives and all," Smith said Friday afternoon. The luncheon was held at the Ohio University Proctorville Center north of Proctorville.

Ted Edwards, current chamber president, said two words came to mind when thinking about Smith: Class and elegance.

"You made a lot of impact on people's lives," said former chamber president Tyler Walters. "For four years, you had a large influence on Lawrence County businesses. Bob has been a leader, a leader to all of us."

Smith was credited for his Monday morning mix newsletter, which chronicled upcoming events, increasing the chamber membership, initiating the chamber's Spotlight dinners which are a major fundraiser and bringing back the business after hours events held four times a year. He also helped Ohio University Southern raise $5 million during a five-year campaign.

"Bob has been great," said Bill Dingus, the chamber's executive director.

A search is under way for a replacement for Smith as chamber director.

"We need someone who will work full-time for part-time pay," said Dan Mooney, president of the Lawrence Economic Development Corp. "We can't afford to pay (health insurance) benefits."

Mooney also will be leaving as president of the group overseeing development at The Point industrial park.

Negotiations are under way with a mining equipment manufacturing company to locate in a 60,000-square-foot shell building at the 500-acre industrial park, Dingus said. If the company signs a lease, it would bring 110 jobs to the industrial park. "If everything goes well, they could open in April," he said.

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