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August 3, 2013

New Chamber of Commerce boss sets open-door policy

MEADVILLE — When the morning of Aug. 19 rolls around and Christa Battin gets down to business as executive director of the Meadville-Western Crawford County Chamber of Commerce, her door will be open.

“I absolutely want an open-door policy at the Chamber,” the organization’s newly-appointed leader told the Tribune late Friday afternoon.  “I want people to stop in and see me. I want to make appointments to see people. I want people to be able to stop in and feel welcome at the Chamber.”

The appointment of Battin, who currently heads the Titusville Area Chamber of Commerce, was announced Friday evening from the stage set up in the middle of Park Avenue for Thunder in the City, one of the Chamber’s most popular annual events.

“I am excited to bring Christa on board,” Chairperson Toni Frisina said in a prepared statement. “She has shown much success in her previous role as Chamber director in Titusville and I know she will be just as successful in Meadville. I have had the opportunity to work with Christa on projects in the past and I can say she is passionate about the work she does and she understands the mission of a Chamber.”

Battin is replacing Kathleen Bishop, whose resignation was announced in May.

Battin, 42, who currently resides in Townville with her two children, Logan and Brooke, graduated from Maplewood High School and received a degree in communications with an emphasis on public relations from Slippery Rock University. She worked for PNC Bank and the PENNCREST School District before beginning her career with the Titusville Chamber as an administrative assistant.

“I loved all the people I was meeting and the business connections,” Battin recalled of her early days at the Titusville Chamber.

That excitement has stayed with her. “The only way a Chamber can be effective is by having the support of the area business community and the community as a whole,” Battin said. “I plan on visiting members and perspective members each day. I hope that people stop in or call to meet me, as I want to learn about members and all that this wonderful town has to offer. The Chamber should be the business card of the community — a place that promotes not only the members but the community.”

While she’s excited about getting acquainted with the Meadville area, Battin has one more thing to take care of before leaving her current position. The Oil Festival, the Titusville Chamber’s biggest event of the year, is next weekend.

“I’m there through that and then I have a few days off before my son heads off to college,” she said.

Logan, a 2013 graduate of Maplewood High School, where he played football, basketball and volleyball,  will play football at Washington & Jefferson College this fall. Brooke will be a junior at Maplewood, where she’s active in the theater, singing and basketball.

Mary Spicer can be reached at 724-6370 or by email at mspicer@meadvilletribune.com.

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