The chairman's gavel will be handed over Thursday when Terry Zeltinger, president of United Community Bank, takes over as chairman of the Minot Area Chamber of Commerce.
Zeltinger, a 38-year veteran of the banking industry, has been a Chamber board member for four years.
For his one-year term, Zeltinger said he has some areas of special interest he would like to address.
The first is to get westbound travel up and running at Minot International Airport.
"It's crazy that you have to go east to get west," he said.
Along with several other city agencies, Zeltinger said the Chamber will be involved in talks with airlines to get Denver and other westbound flights flown directly out of Minot.
As a native of a small town Tolley, population 40, near the Canadian border Zeltinger also wants to focus on the growth and sustainability of the communities surrounding Minot.
"It's called the Minot AREA Chamber of Commerce, not just Minot," Zeltinger said. "The surrounding communities are so important to the economy of Minot that we want to help them in any way we can. Coming from a small town, I understand their concerns and want to help them meet their needs."
Zeltinger also said he wants to foster an even stronger relationship with Canadian visitors and Canadians who reside in Minot.
As chairman, Zeltinger will also serve as an honorary commander to Minot Air Force Base, something he is looking forward to.
"The relationship the Chamber and the community has with Minot Air Force Base is extraordinary compared to other bases," he said. "Not only do they add diversity to the economy, but the people that come from all over the country add to the success of the community. We genuinely appreciate them and I think they feel that."
While the mission statement of the Chamber is to promote, develop and service business particularly new businesses industry and community, Zeltinger said he also wants to keep an eye on who's already here.
"Looking out for the best interest of the (Chamber) members is my main priority," he said. "So many (chamber) groups go gung-ho trying to get new businesses into the area that they forget about the businesses that are already here. I will look out for their interest and not get enamored with everything that is new."
Another goal of the Chamber is to enhance the community and part of that is retaining its residents particularly the young something the state has struggled with for decades.
Zeltinger said that the tide may be turning and used his own family as an example.
His son, an architect, moved to Sacramento, Calif., to escape the body-numbing winters and to have easy access to skiing at nearby Lake Tahoe, but soon returned to his roots. Now, all three of Zeltinger's adult children live in the state.
"The weather here seems to be the dealbreaker for most people, but after leaving, many realize that the fresh air, good schools and lack of crime here can overcome those barriers," he said. "Even if someone offered me a bunch of money and said I could live anywhere, I would still choose Minot. My wife and I live here because we want to live here and because we live here we want to make it as good a place as it can be."
To do that, Zeltinger said it takes good leadership and community involvement.
"We are in an economic boom right now, but we need to prepare as if it won't last forever, because it won't. Many communities don't do that," he said. "We have good leadership in place, which makes me excited because when you have good leadership you can get a lot done."
"It's important to be involved in community," Zeltinger said. "We encourage everyone to get involved regardless of whether it's a service club, Boy Scouts, church or other group. When everyone gets involved it makes the community that much better."