SANTA CRUZ -- Donna Blitzer, UC Santa Cruz director of government and community relations, expects an encore "community leadership" visit as president of the Santa Cruz Chamber of Commerce this year.
"Boulder (Colo.) is a possible destination," she said, citing that city's tourism industry and success in working with the University of Colorado on technology transfer and entrepreneurship. "I'm interested in the economic development possibilities."
One of her goals is for UCSC Chancellor George Blumenthal to participate. He was unable to attend last May's inaugural visit to San Luis Obispo led by Cabrillo College President Brian King during his term as chamber president.
Another priority Blitzer has is to look at the chamber's advocacy role, speaking up on issues from the chamber perspective.
Bill Tysseling, the chamber's executive director, said Blitzer follows in the footsteps of Charles Eadie, a UCSC planner, assistant chancellor Leslie Sunell and campus fundraiser Dan Aldrich, all of whom served as chamber president. The university is the largest employer in the county.
Kirsti Scott of Scott Design and the chamber's vice president of communications, is pleased with Blitzer's selection, saying, "She is so involved in Santa Cruz issues and advocacy."
Other 2013 officers are: Eric Summers, Comerica Bank, president-elect; consultant Duf Fischer, VP member relations; Chris Maffia, Santa Cruz County Bank, VP products and services, Women in Business chairwoman; Mark Mesiti-Miller, Mesiti-Miller Engineering, vice president of community affairs; and Karl Rice, Santa Cruz Seaside Co., vice president of finance.
The board will be introduced at the chamber's 125th annual luncheon Jan. 24 at the Cocoanut Grove.
New board members are: Ryan Coonerty, NextSpace co-founder and chief strategist; consultant Virginia Johnson; Michael Turpin, Santa Cruz Sentinel publisher; and Bryan Williams, chief executive officer of Avid International.
Returning board members are: Mary Gourlay, Barry Swenson Builder; David Heald, Santa Cruz County Bank; Tom Honig, freelance journalist; Bonnie Lipscomb, Santa Cruz Redevelopment Agency; Anne Mitchell, CPA; Martina O'Sullivan, Dominican Hospital; Suni Patel, Super 8; Tess Piazza, Chase Bank; Tonée Picard, Bay Federal Credit Union; Lynn Robinson, Santa Cruz vice mayor; Adele Talmadge, Talmadge Construction; and Ted Whiting III, Santa Cruz Seaside Co.
Past chamber presidents Eadie, with Hamilton Swift Land Management, Jess Brown, Santa Cruz County Farm Bureau, and Patrice Edwards, Times Publishing Group, also return to the board.
Follow Sentinel reporter Jondi Gumz on Twitter at Twitter.com/jondigumz