Laurinburg businessman David McLamb will help lead the Laurinburg/Scotland County Area Chamber of Commerce this year.
McLamb took the reins as chamber chairman during Thursday’s 74th Annual Awards Dinner and Membership Meeting.
“Being a local businessman very closely attached to the success of the entire community, I think that opens my eyes to a lot of the things the chamber does to better our community and drive the economic engine,” McLamb said.
McLamb, who manages the Comfort Inn and Wooly McDuffs Neighborhood Grille in Laurinburg, follows Becca Hughes who served as chairman for 2012. More than 200 people attended the reception and dinner at St Andrews University where Hughes handed the gavel over to McLamb.
“I was very honored to be solicited for the position,” said McLamb. “I would be remiss without thanking Becca for her commitment to the chamber. She has set a high bar for me to follow.”
As the leader of the chamber’s board, McLamb will oversee the formulation of the chamber’s vision and the implementation of that vision. During his year as chairman, McLamb’s priorities will include assisting the new chamber president Tonia Stephenson to Scotland County, as well as expanding the working relationship between the chamber and the community as a whole.
“Tonia is our new president this year and we’re going to be getting her feet on the ground and getting her focused in the community,” McLamb said. “She’ll rely heavily on my local insights. Another big thing is to try to gather more community involvement in the chamber.”
Though many residents and businesspeople lament Scotland County’s economic position, McLamb does not see the county’s employment predicament as uncommon. McLamb has also served on the Scotland County Tourism and Development Authority.
“We’re a small town, you can see our cup as half-full or half-empty; I see it as half-full,” he said. “We’ve got a lot of challenges, but we’ve also had a lot of successes. We’ve lost some industry, but we’ve also retained a lot of strong industry. We’re no different from any small town in America right now struggling to deal with economic conditions.”
While any significant employer would be a welcome addition to the county, McLamb stressed the mission of selling the area’s genuine attributes and attracting industries that fit the reality of the area’s demographics.
“The more involvement we get on the local level, the more viewpoints we can get, the more we an focus on being a community that attracts industry,” said McLamb. “We’re not going to outlive our means or overstate who we are - we are a small town, so we’ll look for industries that fit that. We have to remember that we’re in competition with a lot of other small towns throughout the United States.”
In 2014, Laurinburg attorney Nick Sojka will follow McLamb as chamber chairman.