Archived Story

Chamber’s Smith more than a voice

Published 12:00am Sunday, December 2, 2012

It seems somewhat ironic that it was an automobile that kept me from an event honoring a man who has become closely associated with selling them.

Bob Smith — who is a celebrity of sorts across the Tri-State for his distinctive deep voice, time as a television news anchor, fundraiser extraordinaire for Ohio University Southern and pitch man for Advantage Toyota — was honored for his time in his most recent career choice, one that may have also been his most impactful.

Bob and his wife Billie, who has made some real community contributions in her own right, were surprised with a party commemorating Bob’s retirement from the Greater Lawrence County Chamber of Commerce. This is a position that he embraced and excelled at for the past four years.

I was on my way to Ohio University Proctorville Friday morning when car trouble left me on the side of the road. Although I did not make it to the party, Smith has my congratulations, not for his retirement but for what he has accomplished as the chamber director.

Under his leadership, and certainly with the guidance of Dr. Bill Dingus, Smith has helped turn an organization that was more symbolic than effective into one that has value in the business community and makes a difference.

Bob has done so much including growing membership, adding features to monthly meetings, creating social functions that showcase businesses and offer networking opportunities and implementing several fundraisers that have been hugely successful and allowed the Chamber to fund scholarships at every Lawrence County high school.

He had a knack for getting the right people involved and putting them in the right position to help the organization.

Who knows what the next phase in Bob’s life will bring. Maybe he plans to just ride off into the proverbial sunset and enjoy retirement.

I doubt it but he has certainly earned it.

 

Michael Caldwell is publisher of The Tribune. To reach him, call (740) 532-1445 ext. 24 or by e-mail at mike.caldwell@irontontribune.com. Follow him on Twitter: @MikeCaldwell_IT.

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