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Posted on Jan 20, 2016

Kuest to lead chamber this year

The new president of the Quincy Valley Chamber of Commerce plans to spend time reaching out to members this year, inviting them to not only get involved in the chamber’s efforts but also to let the board know just what they want from the local business organization.
“We want to look at the community as a whole and (determine) what the chamber can do to meet the needs of the community,” new President Brian Kuest said.
A financial consultant in charge of special projects at CliftonLarsonAllen in Quincy, Kuest is an active community volunteer. He has served on the Port of Quincy’s three-member governing board for 16 years. In November, he was re-elected to that position.
The chamber president and his board currently are looking at the organization’s programs and re-evaluating what is working and what is not, Kuest said. So there may be some changes in the coming year.
For example, the annual Women’s Day event has been replaced with a new business expo, which should be in mid-May.
“The dynamics of the community are changing,” said Kuest, who took over the one-year position on Jan. 1. “We have to change with it.”
As a port commissioner, Kuest has much experience building partnerships throughout the community and region. He looks forward to doing the same in his role with the chamber.
“I’ll partner with anybody and everybody if it makes sense,” he said.
Not many communities, especially those the size of Quincy, have a mix of data centers, food processors and small businesses in their city limits, Kuest said. Helping the community grow will take some creative thinking, he said.
And he’s up for the challenge.
“I like being creative and thinking outside the box,” Kuest said.
But, above all, Kuest wants the members to know that he is open to hearing their suggestions and ideas.
“I want to hear what the community has to say,” he said. “I want to make sure we are meeting members’ expectations – whatever that may be.”
The chamber currently is seeking members to fill three seats on the 12-member board.
The 2016 board members, at this time, include: President-elect Lynn Bales of the Quincy Community Health Center, Renato del Rosario of Washington Trust Bank, Sunshine Didra of the Quincy Valley Post-Register, Russ Harrington of the city of Quincy, Mark Johnson of Vantage, Gigi Lowry of Microsoft, Dollie Lutz of Lineage Logistics, Daja Mayfield of Windermere, Jorge Rios of Wheatland Bank, and Tom Overcast and Rani Sampson of Overcast Law.


— By Jill FitzSimmons,