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Chamber announces new board members, officers

By Staff | Jun 10, 2020

PHOTO PROVIDED Brian Kautz

With April’s annual meeting canceled due to COVID-19, the Sanibel & Captiva Islands Chamber of Commerce announced the appointment of new members to its board of directors and executive board and its new officers through media channels of communication.

Brian Kautz, general manager at The Dunes Golf & Tennis Club, will chair the 2020-2021 executive board, replacing retiring Chair Mary Bondurant, of the Bondurant Realty Group.

“Mary did a stellar job as the ‘face of the chamber’ for the past year, and a big thanks for her dedication and passion,” chamber President John Lai said. “Brian has some unprecedented challenges to face in his one-year term, but we look to him for the strong leadership he demonstrated as chair-elect.”

“With the experience of the last 10 to 11 weeks, I think there are a lot of differences between businesses and residents, and a meeting on mutual ground needs to be achieved,” Kautz, who has served on the chamber board for three years, said. “It’s going to be a challenging six months to get the chamber and businesses stabilized. There are so many variables, but John Lai is an awesome conduit to get it done.”

Moving into Kautz’s former chair-elect position is Mark Blust, vice president of marketing and operations for the Prawnbroker Group, who has served on the board for six years. New to the executive board, Calli Johnson will serve as secretary-treasurer.

PHOTO PROVIDED Calli Johnson

“I am excited to join the executive board at a time when advocacy and community is underscored by the recent challenges our islands have overcome,” Johnson, manager at Bailey’s General Store, said. “It is an honor to represent the businesses that make Sanibel and Captiva special as well as the generations of business leaders before me.”

Three new members accepted positions on the board of directors, taking the places of BIG ARTS’ Lee Ellen Harder, who finished her term in April, and Brett Gooch and Kim McGonnell, who both have moved to new work situations. They include Katy Forret, general manager of Doc Ford’s Rum Bar & Grille; Michelle Berger, general manager of ‘Tween Waters Island Resort & Spa; and Ron Clayton, sales-contract manager at Advanced Disposal.

“The chamber has a strong backbone,” Kautz said. “I think we’ll be able to do some great things in the next six months.”

“I have solid faith in the leadership of our chamber of commerce,” Lai said. “I believe the community will pull together to once again put Sanibel and Captiva at the top of the list of the world’s most admired destinations.”