Meet the New West Pasco Chamber President
Chip Wichmanowski wants the chamber to be the go-to place for economic development.
Chip Wichmanowski has started his tenure as president of the West Pasco Chamber of Commerce, and he spoke for a brief time with Patch about what he brings to the job and some of his goals for the organization.
Wichmanowski started in his new job Jan. 2. He replaces longtime president Joe Alpine, who retired recently.
“I have a passion for West Pasco,” Wichmanowski said. “I think I bring the ability to get people to work together. I believe I have the ability to network and work with people to get more members here.”
As of Monday, the chamber had 861 members. Wichmanowski would like to raise the number of members. He’s eyeing a target of 1,200 to start with. He would like to not only add members but keep the chamber from losing current ones.
Wichmanowski says he can be successful in helping the chamber raise money needed to implement programs and things that are necessary for economic development to the area.
For 15 years, Wichmanowski served as executive director of the Pasco Education Foundation, which raises money for the Pasco school district. Before that, he was an educator and administrator in the Pasco.
Wichmanowski says he knows a lot of people and has worked with a lot of folks in the area.
Developing relationships “is the hardest part of doing business with somebody. I already have a lot of relationships developed.”
Wichmanowski, 59, was already a member of the West Pasco Chamber in his capacity as executive director of the Pasco Education Foundation. He started as executive director of the foundation in 1997 while working as communications director for the district.
He retired from the Pasco Education Foundation this past October with the intent of starting a consulting business. Then the oppotrtunity to assume the presidency of the chamber popped up.
He said he just loves this area and thinks it has so much potential.
"This was really an opportunity that was too good to be true and too good to pass up," he said.
Wichmanowski has lived in Pasco full-time since 1984. He touts a long history of involvement in the community. He coached youth sports and was involved with the Richey Suncoast Theatre in downtown New Port Richey.
He credits his community involvement to lessons instilled by his parents.
The success of whatever organization you run is “about getting people involved, and that’s what I do.”
Wichmanowski didn’t know what new programs he would implement in the new job, but he anticipated the chamber will “come up with something new” to grow membership and sponsorships.
He doesn’t know how many businesses are in West Pasco, but "every business should be a member.”
When asked the biggest challenge the chamber faces, Wichmanowski referred to it as an “opportunity.”
“Our biggest opportunity is increasing and growing businesses here,” he said.
When asked his biggest goal for the chamber, he said increasing the chamber's membership and in doing so its role as a player in the community.
“My goal is to make the West Pasco Chamber of Commerce the go-to organization for economic development in West Pasco," he said.
For more information about the chamber, call 727-842-7651 or visit the organization at 5443 Main St, New Port Richey.