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Chamber president decides to stay on

By Jeff Kiger

jkiger@postbulletin.com

After announcing in January that he was planning to step down as president of the Rochester Area Chamber Commerce after almost seven years, John Wade said Wednesday that he has decided to stay at the helm of the local business organization.

Wade, 47, announced his plan to rescind the resignation at the chamber’s board meeting Wednesday and the board members gave him a round of applause.

Citing the urging of many chamber members and how the national economic downturn has intensified since January, Wade said he decided to stay on to help steer a number of economic initiatives. Those include promoting biotechnology business development, marketing Rochester as a medical destination, and working on educational programs such as Workforce 2020 and Learn, Earn, Do as well as a new young professional networking group called Fuel.

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"A number of people thought this might be a time to stay on the bridge for a while longer, and I’m excited about that," he said. "The decision (to stay) ultimately was an easy one."

When he announced his resignation in January, he said he was looking "at a couple different opportunities" in Rochester, but Wednesday he declined to comment further.

Wade’s change of heart was welcomed by many other local leaders.

"Obviously this is great news for the Rochester Area Chamber of Commerce. It’s nice to know that arm twisting works — at least this time it did," said Don Supalla, chair of the chamber board and president of Rochester Community and Technical College. "With ongoing issues like an uncertain economic future, pending downtown development, and legislation certain to impact city, county and state government… we need John Wade’s leadership more than ever."

Wade was named as interim and eventually permanent president of the chamber in 2002 after former president Dennis Egan resigned after only seven months on the job.

The chamber, the second largest in the state, has 1,270 members.

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