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The Chippewa Falls Chamber of Commerce board chair position changed hands as the organization focuses on continuing their momentum.

The group held its 108th annual luncheon Monday to celebrate 2018’s accomplishments and bring in its new chair.

Ben Lane

Lane

Ben Lane, lawyer and small claims court commissioner for the Chippewa County Court, will be the 2019 board chair, replacing Neil Mathwig.

Mathwig said in his remarks that the year had been a success in many metrics, including increased tourism and continued business growth.

“It’s been my privilege to serve as the board chair for the last year,’ Mathwig said.

“We can say that things are moving in the right direction.”

The organization recorded 50 new members last year, bringing the total to 680.

Of those, 82 percent report 25 or less employees.

Mathwig said that the chamber harnessed record tourism dollars from the state and used resources to grow the tourism economy in Chippewa Falls 10 percent.

Both Mathwig and Lane also mentioned the groups continued focus on workforce and talent development.

In the 2017 and 2018 school year, chamber businesses hosted 209 middle school students on tours.

The program included manufacturers, health care, automotive tours and others.

They also brought together a development program between the Chippewa Falls and Eau Claire Chambers of Commerce called Young Professionals of the Chippewa Valley to encourage 21 to 40 year old business people to interact socially, exchange ideas and share common interests.

Lane said that of the priorities in 2019, workforce development rates highly.

“Developing, attracting and retaining workers is on top of the list,” Lane said.

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