Sat, July 20

Luczak ready to retire from busy Chamber job

VVN/Steve Ayers

Camp Verde Chamber of Commerce Director Ron Luczak is retiring after two-plus years at the helm. His executive assistant, Trapper Moore, will fill the position on an interim basis until the board selects a permanent replacement.

He does, after all, work at a place called the visitors center.

As he begins to talk about his plans to relax when he retires from his director’s position in January, a woman from the First Southern Baptist Church enters and asks if the church can get a new chamber membership plaque, since they have recently reinstated their membership.

"Excuse me just a moment," Luczak says as he goes off to a back room.

He soon returns and gives the woman her plaque.

"We should be mailing out the 2005 membership plates to install on the plaque in a couple weeks," Luczak informs the woman.

"Lets see, where were we," Luczak says. "Yes, I plan on taking care of several honey-dos my wife has been asking for. I am also going to take some flying lessons, something I have always dreamed of doing.

"My wife and I just bought a telescope and have begun stargazing so we are planning on taking some classes at …" its the phone again.

This time it’s a call from Pennsylvania.

"The Institute for Vibrant Living?" Luczak asks. "Just a minute, I have heard of them, let me see if I can get you a number."

"Excuse me once again," Luczak says as he grabs a phone book, quickly finds the phone number and gives it to the caller.

"And here’s their address, but keep in mind," he tells the caller, "many of the businesses in town use Post Office boxes so you should call them first before mailing them the letter."

Once again Luczak returns to the interview and begins to explain how he has enjoyed the many relationships he has developed in the community during his two-plus years as the chamber director.

"I think the thing I will miss the most about this job is the people. I cherish the friendships I have developed, each and every one I have worked with," he says. "I have truly had the privilege of working with a great board of directors, business community, the chambers in Cottonwood and Sedona, and all of the folks…" its the phone again.

"Excuse me," Luczak politely asks again.

"Yes, the Kiwanis meet at the casino on the third Thursday," Luczak tells the caller, "Cecy Gilbert is the president. Let me give you her number so she can give you the details."

After handing out several pamphlets to a walk-in visitor, Luczak returns to talk about what it takes to market a town.

"The Gourd and Garlic Festival is a classic example," Luczak says, talking about the newly created chamber-hosted event in June, "It’s all a matter of getting to know the folks who can come and make the event a success. It’s networking, pure and simple."

"This last year, we received really great comments from several vendors," Luczak explains, "now they have begun to tell others. It just sort of begins to snowball"

"You have to keep in mind that the planning for an event begins as soon as the last one starts to wind down. I usually go around to the participants on the last day and get comments from them to improve…" the phone is ringing, again

"Excuse me," Luczak says.

"Actually, we have two banks in town," he tells the caller, "Let me get you the phone numbers."

After hanging up, Luczak moves on to explains that he spent 20 years in the banking business before moving to the Verde Valley two and a half years ago.

"We had been coming here for 20 years and bought some land about 15 years ago," he says.

"After moving here, I found out the chamber was looking for a director. I was fortunate to be chosen as the interim director. About three months later, the board offered me the full…" ring…ring.

"Hello, Camp Verde Chamber of Commerce, this is Ron."

"The land fill is actually over towards Prescott, but there is a transfer station close to town just past the Verde River bridge on highway 260 on your way to Payson," Luczak says. "I think it's just a small fee to dump a pickup load, five dollars or so…you’re welcome.

Luczak quickly turns the conversation to the new downtown.

"I see nothing but positives as a result of the improvements," he says. "It definitely leaves the town well positioned for the future.

"The whole process has been the perfect example of a team effort. The 250 or so members of the chamber deserve a lot of the credit along with the town folks and the…"

"Excuse me"

Sure Ron, you’re excused. And you'll be missed.