“Things happened fast after the meeting,” Arnold said, mentioning his introduction to the City Council in late February. He started as the new executive director for the chamber on Monday.
Chamber board member Tom Beasley introduced Arnold to the council as a host of other CofC board members sat in the audience.
The former head of the Corpus Christi Chamber of Commerce’s Convention and Visitors Bureau said he started on Monday, March 3. He is the first executive director at the chamber in some time.
“The first day was cleanup day,” Arnold said. He plans to put a rug on the tiled floor in his office to tame the echo in the room.
The new director’s 30-year career took him from his hometown of Niagara Falls, N.Y., to Corpus Christi. He said “headhunters” pulled him into a job in New Mexico and then up to Illinois. But Arnold said he realized how much he missed South Texas the minute he crossed the Texas-New Mexico state line.
He managed to return to Corpus Christi about seven years ago.
For the past five years, Arnold’s wife, Linda, has served as the director of development for the Spohn Hospital Health System Foundation in Corpus Christi.
Mrs. Arnold has been involved in Spohn’s annual Ladies Night Out in Beeville, so she is familiar with the community.
“We really love South Texas,” he said.
Arnold said his first task will be to organize a retreat for chamber board members to establish a priority list of goals.
He said there are 45-50 items on a current list of jobs that need to be done, but he wants to figure out what the top five projects should be.
Another part of that retreat will be to re-establish a mission statement for the chamber.
The organization has a fair number of new board members who are interested in serving the chamber and in seeing what the organization can do for the community.
Arnold called the effort a great challenge. “This community has a lot going for it.”
Gary Kent is a reporter at the Bee-Picayune and can be reached at 358-2550, ext. 120, or at reporter@mySouTex.com.