Skip Hauke, the director of the Astoria-Warrenton Area Chamber of Commerce, will retire next year and hand the reins to David Reid.
Hauke has been director since January 2005, taking over after the retirements of then-Director Roger Rocka and Associate Director John Compere. He joined the chamber after selling the property of his family’s grocery store, Hauke’s Sentry Market, to Safeway.
The chamber was established in 1873 and has a mission to create a strong local economy, promote the community and represent the interests of business with government.
Hauke plans to phase himself out of the position by late spring. He will retire around his 75th birthday in May after helping with the Crab, Seafood and Wine Festival, the chamber’s largest fundraiser, in April.
“I will miss the job, there’s no doubt about it,” Hauke said. “But there comes a time when you have to let go. I’ve got a good sense of accomplishment, basically with all the credit going to a great staff. But we’ve accomplished a lot.”
He pointed to the region’s increased lodging taxes from visitors and a growing membership of more than 640 as signs of a job well done by the chamber.
Hauke is one of only two people to twice win the chamber’s George Award, Astoria’s citizen-of-the-year honor, along with former Astoria Mayor Willis Van Dusen. Reid won the award in 2014.
Hauke said he first talked to Reid two years ago during one of the chamber’s Business After Hours networking events about being his successor. Reid’s name was brought to the chamber’s board of directors, who selected him, Hauke said.
Reid and his wife, Lisa, moved to Astoria in 2002 when he took a job as a sales coordinator with insurance company Aflac Inc. He has been a chamber member since 2003 and has served on its board since 2011. His term expires at the end of the year, he said, in time for the transition. He has also been with the Astoria Rotary Club since 2003.
“The chamber for me has always been the place where all the things I love about this community come together,” Reid said.
The role of the chamber is both as an advocate for local businesses and as a visitor’s bureau, he said.
Reid has been working part time for Aflac while also being a lead adviser with the Small Business Development Center. He will not continue with either position. Reid also serves on the Astoria Downtown Historic District Association’s Business Development Committee, a role he said he hopes to continue, time permitting.
“Their missions are aligned but not identical,” he said of the chamber and downtown association. “I look at them as concentric circles.”