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Chamber History

The Chamber’s early history is recorded in the following manner in Elizabeth Porter’s book, “A History of Wetumpka”, page 166. “The Chamber of Commerce is not one of the oldest civic organizations of Wetumpka, but it is one of the strongest, being composed of men who are also members of one of the three civic luncheon clubs. These men have confidence in Wetumpka and feel that it is really helping any one who is looking for a place in which to locate an industry to show him the advantages that he can have by locating it here.”

"The Chamber of Commerce has entered its fifth year; it was organized in 1952 with Ellis Austin as its first president. Mac Freeman was president the second year; in its third year Judson Landrum, Sr., served as president; Mrs. J. L. Young is the executive secretary."

"The board of directors is composed of ten men who meet monthly. There is an annual dinner for the entire membership. Two interesting brochures containing valuable information about Wetumpka have been published, and another brochure is in the making. The membership of this organization is composed of men who are capable and enthusiastic, men who have faith in the future of Wetumpka. In 1956, at the annual dinner for the club, Tom McDow was elected president. He was also elected “Man of the Year.” This meeting of 1956 proved to be a very enthusiastic meeting as many plans were made for bringing in new industries. In 1957 Silas Martin was elected president and Mac Freeman, Jr., “The Man-of-the-Year.”

In 1987, the committee to reestablish the Wetumpka Chamber of Commerce was set in motion at the behest of then Mayor Jeanette Barrett. She commissioned a four man committee composed of Bill Gray, Art Bolin, John Lazenby, and Ferrell Long to prepare the organizational structure. The Wetumpka Merchants Association, led by Jack DeVenney became a part of the Chamber organizational project. The committee set about to organize and filed incorporation papers on February 24, 1989, to establish the Wetumpka Area Chamber of Commerce. By Laws had become official on February 3, 1989, and William M. Gray served as the first elected president through March, 1988. Alma Leak, assistant to Mayor Jeanette Barrett acted as the Chief Staff Executive with headquarters located in the Alternatives building at 110 East Bridge Street. The Chamber incorporated as a 501 (c) (6) and contributions to a 501(c)(6) are not tax deductible as charitable contributions, but they may be deductible as a trade or business expense.The first year saw inclusion of approximately 50 charter members in the organization. Janice Cash was hired as Executive Secretary in December, 1989, and the Chamber’s new home became 108 Company Street and later still 108 East Bridge Street. Jackson Thornton & Company, Principal Dennis Fain, has faithfully provided the services for accounting, reporting, and auditing throughout the life of the Chamber. Jan Wood came on board in December, 1992 and began to concentrate on visibility, growth, and community impact. Lacking the big dollars to recruit in the industrial market, the Chamber has sought to forge its role as promoter—especially of attractions, tourism, and retiree relocation. The Chamber is a nerve center for information for tourism and business referral, with its chief responsibility being to provide the venue or format for local business and community leaders to meet together to share information and promote community interests and projects.

Early in 1995, the Chamber sought a permanent home and gathered commitment from its membership, made a leap of faith and purchased the historic building at 110 East Bridge Street where it had residence in 1987. This two story white masonry location originally constructed in 1905 of limestone was the Bank of Wetumpka. After the demise of the bank in the years of the Depression, the historic building served to house a variety of business ventures—barber and beauty shops, jewelry store, insurance and accounting offices, gift shop, restaurant and eatery, drug prevention and treatment program and finally, June 1, 1995, as the home of The Wetumpka Area Chamber of Commerce.


Since that date the Chamber has promoted various fund raising efforts to support the improvement and repair of the building in such a manner as to maintain its historical integrity.  Major projects have included replacing the roof, painting the interior, placing marble tile front steps, repairing window framing, cleaning and painting the exterior surface and awnings, and polishing and reinstalling the sliding copper and brass doors at the front entrance. In 2005 and in 2016, new carpet and furnishings were added to the building.

The growth of Chamber participation and membership has been substantial with broad based participation ranging from retired individuals who seek to serve their community to the largest high-tech manufacturing firms located in our area. In 2012, Executive Director Jan Wood retired, and Vanessa Lynch was hired as Executive Director and created 'Craterfest" an annual family music festival to replace "Riverfest". In 2014, a major capital campaign was initiated for the renovation of the entire Chamber block in which, 1.4 million was raised and the Wetumpka Business and Innovation Center was established next door to the Chamber. It's purpose serves as a small business incubator with affordable rental space and mentoring for new businesses.  


 It is our desire to be responsive to the perceived needs and wishes of the area citizenry as well as our mission to promote the best and most equitable economic endeavors for the City of Wetumpka and Elmore County.


Wetumpka Chamber Time Line


1987 to 1988

Four man committee commissioned by Mayor Jeanette Barrett  

William M. Gray, Art Bolin, Ferrell Long, and John Lazenby to reestablish a Chamber of Commerce for the City of Wetumpka

February 3, 1989

By-Laws Filed  

February 24, 1989

Incorporation Official

Original Incorporators  Dennis Fain, Art Bolin, and Ferrell Long  




William M. Gray  


Art Bolin  


Ferrell Long  


Deanna Macon  


Jack DeVenney  


Bill Miller  


John Enslen  


Travis Cosby, III  


Dennis G. Fain  


Jimmy Stubbs, Jr.


Thomas R. Edwards


Rita Lewis  


Mark Presnell  


Darrin Chatham  


Margie Newbrough  


Travis Cosby, III


Dean A. Mack


Teresa S. Johnston


Kenith W. Hammock


James B. Collier Jr.


David Sanders


Regina B. Edwards

2009 Brandt Wright
2010 Mark Shaw
2011 Dennis G. Fain

Randy Morgan


Barry Chrietzberg

2014Cody Williamson
2015Keyesta Sherman
2016Joel Hunt
2017Lee Macon
2018Eric Hyde



Chamber Executive Directors:

2/  /89 – 10/31/89  Alma Leak  
12/6/89 – 12/9/92  Janice Cash  
12/7/92 - 12/31/11  Jan Wood  
1/1/12 - 4/1/16Vanessa Lynch
5/1/16 - Present Gerry Purcell


Administrative Assistants: 

 7/98 - 7/06 Margie Jones-Barrett
 8/1/06 - 10/11/06 Stephanie Knapp
 10/20/06 - 9/4/07 Angie Briggum
 9/5/07 - 7/22/11 Terri Teague
 10/10/11 - Present Jamie Young, Associate Director

Volunteer Awards:

March 28, 1991 Watt Jones, Jr.  
March 19, 1992 Jack DeVenney  


Community Involvement Citation Recipients: 

Community Involvement Citation

For those volunteers demonstrating a high degree of unselfish civic service to the citizens of Wetumpka, Alabama in multiple ways and for an extended period of time.

March 23, 1993 Kathleen Speer  
March 24, 1994  Jack DeVenney  
March 23, 1995 Jake Strickland  
March 12, 1996 J. E. Dunn, Jr., M. D.  
March 11, 1997 C. S. Bazemore  
March 19, 1998 Janette Chalker  
January 26, 1999     C. E. Weldon, Jr.  
January 20, 2000 Ben & Janet Barrett  
January 23, 2001 Edward W. Enslen  
January 17, 2002 Dennis G. Fain
January 7, 2003 Larry R. Teel
January 13, 2004 Barry Chrietzberg
January 27, 2005 William M. "Bill" Gray
January 26, 2006 Carolyn Osborn
January 11, 2007 Julie Bridgman
January 24, 2008 Dr. Joseph R. Benson
January 22, 2009 Judge Maura Culberson
January 21, 2010 Gwendolyn E. Turner
January 20, 2011 Joe Allen Turner
January 19, 2012 Kathleen Holt

January 17, 2013

Martha Dykes

January 16, 2014Rebecca Thornton
February 24, 2015Mary Peck
February 9, 2016Larry Dozier
February 9, 2017Rea Cord
February 8, 2018Kristy Meanor



William F. Sahlie Volunteer Award: 

William F. Sahlie Award

For Outstanding Volunteer Service to the Chamber

March 11, 1997  Margie Jones  
March 19, 1998  Tom Clark  
January 26, 1999 Dorothy W. Welden 
January 20, 2000 Sam C. Turner  
January 23, 2001 Sylvia McConnell  
January 17, 2002 Cathy Sanford
January 7, 2003 Tom Overton
January 13, 2004 Kathleen B. Holt
January 27, 2005 Dean A. Mack
January 26, 2006 Patricia Harden
January 11, 2007 Regina B. Edwards
January 24, 2008 Kenneth W. Hammock
January 22, 2009 Lisa McNeil
January 21, 2010 Cindy Hilyer
January 20, 2011 Marilyn Winborn
January 19, 2012 Dennis Fain

January 17, 2013

Missy Rhoades

January 16, 2014Randy Morgan
February 24, 2015Jimmy Stubbs, Jr.
February 9, 2016Cody Williamson
February 9, 2017Joel Hunt
February 8, 2018Lee Macon


Elmore County History & Heritage Award:

January 7, 2003

Joe Allen Turner



Service Award for 15 Years as Treasurer:

January 21, 2010

Sylvia McConnell


Ambassador of the Year:

 2003 Kathleen B. Holt
 2004 Patricia Harden
 2005 Cheryll Fochtmann
 2006 Lisa McNeil


Cindy Hilyer

 2009 Missy Rhoades
 2010 Debbie Brown


Tracy Hart


Vanessa Rohan

 2013All Ambassadors Received Recognition
2014All Ambassadors Received Recognition
2015All Ambassadors Received Recognition
2016All Ambassadors Received Recognition
2017All Ambassadors Received Recognition
2018All Ambassadors Received Recognition


Senior Ambassador of the Year:

 2006 Kathleen B. Holt
 2007 Pat Harden, Kathleen B. Holt and Margie Jones-Barrrett
 2008 Pat Harden
 2009 Margie Jones Barrett

Martha Dykes & Kathleen B. Holt

 2011 Kathleen B. Holt


Marlene Goodman & Pat Harden

 2013All Ambassadors Received Recognition
2014All Ambassadors Received Recognition
2015All Ambassadors Received Recognition
2016All Ambassadors Received Recognition
2017All Ambassadors Received Recognition
2018All Ambassadors Received Recognition



Annual Meetings:

Date Location Caterer Speaker
3/24/88 Quail Walk Taste Temptors  Edgar Welden  
3/23/89  Wetumpka HS Taste Temptors Alva Lambert
3/22/90  Wetumpka HS  Taste Temptors Bob Ingram
3/28/91 Wetumpka HS  Taste Temptors Fred Donaldson  
3/19/92   Wetumpka HS Taste Temptors Jon Chapman
3/23/93 Wetumpka HS Taste Temptors Henry P. “Hank” Fowler, Jr.
3/24/94 Fain Com. Cent. Country’s BBQ Dr. John Ed Mathison  
3/23/95 Heartland Dance Catfish Country Grass Harp Auction/M.Darity
3/12/96 Wetumpka HS Weddings by Mary E. Paul Ott Carruth, Singer
3/11/97 Wetumpka HS Moses & Crawford Rev. Robert “Bob” Baggott  
3/19/98 Wetumpka HS Moses & Crawford Aubrey Miller
1/26/99 Wetumpka HS Moses & Crawford Annie Crenshaw
1/20/00 Wetumpka HS Cajun Grille Sonny Hornsby
1/23/01 Fain Com. Cent. Cajun Grille Awards & Presentations
1/17/02 Fain Com. Cent. White Wings Awards & Presentations  
1/7/03 Fain Com. Cent. White Wings Awards & Presentations  
1/13/04 Fain Com. Cent. White Wings Awards & Presentations  
1/27/05 Fain Com. Cent. Academy Events/Catering Awards & Presentations  
1/26/06 Fain Com. Cent. White Wings Awards & Presentations  
1/11/07 Wetumpka Civic Center White Wings Awards & Presentations  
1/24/08 Wetumpka Civic Center Catfish Country Awards & Presentations  
1/22/09 Wetumpka Civic Center Academy Events Awards & Presentations  
1/21/10 Wetumpka Civic Center White Wings Awards & Presentations  
1/20/11 Wetumpka Civic Center Incredible Edibles Awards & Presentations  
1/19/12 Wetumpka Civic Center Creek Casino Wetumpka Awards & Presentations  


Wetumpka Civic Center

White Wings

Awards & Presentations

1/16/14Wetumpka Civic CenterWind Creek WetumpkaAwards & Presentations
2/24/15Wetumpka Civic CenterWind Creek WetumpkaAwards & Presentations
2/9/16Wetumpka Civic CenterWind Creek WetumpkaAwards & Presentations
2/8/17Wetumpka Civic CenterWind Creek WetumpkaAwards & Presentations
2/8/18Wetumpka Civic CenterWind Creek WetumpkaAwards & Presentations