With more than 30 year’s experience working with chambers of commerce and economic development organizations, Brengle will relocate to Montrose from Redondo Beach, Calif., with his wife Erin and 10-year-old son Grayson.
“The first thing I really want to do is get more involvement from the membership, and that’s why we are trying to get a council task force system,” Brengle said. “We have six councils and people who want to serve in those areas will be the pool of resources that can help the board move the organization forward and increase that involvement.”
Brengle’s second priority will be to “increase and really magnify member benefits,” he said, including work on a Workers Comp safety group to help smaller business have a safe workplace, and then “moving the organization forward and making sure we have the tourism aspect going as well as retail enhancement.
“We are already buying TV advertising for retail enhancement and supporting special events that are so important to Montrose,” he said.
The chamber’s former director came under fire last year after canceling the St. Patrick’s Day parade. Brengle said he would like to see Montrose ACT sponsor even more events, especially during the slow season, from October through May. Although such plans have not yet evolved, Brengle envisions possibly an Oktoberfest celebration and a winter festival.
“With four or five events in that eight month period, we can use big events to draw people to the community, not just for tourism but for retail,” he said.
The new organization will need additional volunteers to help with events and other programs. “In the April issue of our newsletter will be an article on the different councils we’re trying to set up with a card inside for people and fill out and send back to us,” he said.
With the dissolution of the Montrose Visitors Center, former executive director Jenni Sopsic has been named director of marketing and public relations for Montrose ACT, and will report to Brengle.
A new special events coordinator position has been established and Brengle is currently accepting resumes with the hope of filling the slot in the near future.
In the meantime, the board of the Montrose Area Merchants Association, headed by Juli Messenger, will vote on April 19 whether or not to dissolve the corporation. Messenger said that both she and MAMA Program Assistant Stephanie McCreary will lose their jobs this month.
“I’ve been [aware that] this was coming, so I’ve been job hunting,” she said. “This is a new chapter in my life and gives me a chance to take a break, to get to do some volunteer activities, and I’m looking forward to spending more time with my husband, granddaughter and our dog. I’m excited – it’s been a good 11-year run.”
One program that won’t disappear is MAMA Bucks, renamed Montrose Bucks, which can be purchased by individuals, businesses and nonprofits to be exchanged like bank checks for goods and services.
“Everybody’s MAMA Bucks are good through the printed expiration date and the redemption process remains the same,” Messenger said.
Another MAMA program that will continue is Main in Motion, which consists of live music, entertainment and food on Main Street on Thursday afternoons during the summer months.
According to Main in Motion Chair Kendra Morrow, weekly event organization received its advertising budget from MAMA but otherwise acted as an independent agency. Sponsorships for Main in Motion have been very successful in the past, she said, and last year the event received more in sponsorship dollars than had been budgeted. Morrow said she has submitted an application for advertising dollars from Montrose ACT, but has not heard back. With nine live music locations and artists selling their works up and down the street, this summer’s Main in Motion will run June 3 through Aug. 19.
Main in Motion is “an extremely important event for summertime,” confirmed Brengle, who is on vacation this week visiting his family. Brengle was hired as a consultant earlier this year to guide the transition of Montrose ACT at a salary of $8,000 per month. He will officially start his new job on April 20 and plans to move his family to Montrose in June, after the school year ends.
Although Brengle’s salary has not yet been disclosed, according to ACT board president Steve Savoy, “Ken is getting paid an amount commensurate with his experience and organizations of our size.”