The new director of the GLMV Chamber of Commerce brings a hometown feel to a position that has had its share of turnover the past few years.
Ray Mullen, a Mundelein resident since 1983, owned Debbie's Floral in the village for more than three decades and served a past president of both Mundelein Vernon Hills Rotary and Mundelein Community Connection, a downtown advocacy group.
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Mullen, 64, officially started his new duties this past Monday but isn't looking to immediately reinvent the wheel.
"It's a chamber with a long, successful history. It would be a disservice to say we need to change a lot of things. I don't think we need to do that," he said.
Most recently, he served as a sales executive with MarquipWardUnited, an international manufacturer of machinery for the corrugated box and paper industry.
"We all felt it would be nice to have someone who knew the people and the area real well," said Don Peterson, chamber chairman. GLMV represents businesses in Green Oaks, Libertyville, Mundelein and Vernon Hills.
"We were looking for somebody who will be out shaking hands and meeting with the hundreds of members of the chamber and find out from them what we can do," to improve the value of their membership, he added.
Mullen was chosen from among about 20 candidates to succeeded Alese Campbell, who served two years as executive director before leaving last fall for an executive position with Shaw Media. He becomes the third executive director since Dwight Houchins resigned in May 2007 after nine years in the position.
"The reason I was interested and excited to be in the position with the chamber is the community and the businesses in the community have always been important to me," Mullen said.
Membership dropped from a peak of about 800 to about 535 during a tough economy but has leveled out, according to Peterson.
Mullen said his general goal is to help the chamber grow in membership and member services. GLMV has been marketing its trade shows, mixers, lunches, networking opportunities, educational programs and other events and services.
"The objective of this job is to spend a lot of time with members and potential members," Mullen said
He said he is aware of turnover in the position.
"It's my intention to have that cease, effective now," he said.