Covid-19 can’t keep Chamber DOL from functioning; Dwyer hired
The Bainbridge Island Chamber of Commerce has kept it’s Department of Licensing Sub agency opened throughout most of the Coronavirus Pandemic by staunchly adhering to social distancing measures and being extremely mindful of disinfecting its office on Winslow Way, next door to the Streamliner Diner.
The DOL bureau – one of only a handful of sub-agencies in the county – kept its doors opened in March, April, and May while most others were shuttered. The chamber office continues to use an air purifier (electronic ionizer) to keep any airborne germs to a minimum, while DOL agent Chris Rothert interacts with customers at the front door.
No members of public are allowed in the building.
Rothert, who has been on the job for more than 10 years, takes people’s paperwork at the door and then returns to his workstation to process car, boat, truck, and trailer registrations, as well as a number of title transfers, and then retraces his steps back to the front door to complete the transactions.
“Its worked out pretty well,” he says, behind a face mask. “Most people are pretty understanding.”
Meanwhile, the Chamber is undergoing some executive changes. Kevin Dwyer has been named Interim President and CEO, replacing Rex Oliver, who is on medical leave.
Dwyer was the top executive at the Bainbridge Chamber from 2001-2011 and later went on to run two other chambers before returning to Bainbridge and forming a private consultancy.
“I’m looking forward to re-engaging with the Bainbridge business community and doing my best – with the help of many others – to assist them through these difficult times,” said Dwyer.
Prior to entering the Chamber field, Dwyer was an economic development specialist and previously spent more than 22 years as a professional journalist. He is the former editor of the Puget Sound Business Journal and was the founding editor of Washington CEO Magazine, a statewide monthly business publication. He was the Business Editor of the former Bremerton Sun (now Kitsap Sun) from 1995-1998.
“We’re fortunate that Kevin was available and willing to take on this role,” said Matt Albee, chair of the chamber’s Board of Directors. “These are very difficult times, and we felt Kevin had the knowledge and background to help our businesses and our organization navigate our way through it.”
Albee said Dwyer would serve in an interim capacity for three to six months before the Chamber seeks a permanent replacement. The Chamber has roughly 520 member businesses and is currently working on helping businesses re-open under Phase 2 of the state’s COVID-19 proclamations. For more information visit bainbridgechamber.com
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