New chief to grow Chamber of Commerce

Posted by on Tuesday, January 19th, 2016 at 9:46am.


Okotoks businessman and current vice-president of the Chamber of Commerce Andrew Gustafson is set to take the reins on Jan. 20.

Gustafson, owner of Natural High Fitness in Okotoks, says he has several goals when he takes over the two-year position in the town.  He plans on being a voice for business and he’d like to increase membership by at least 5%.

In looking at membership stats, Gustafson says that just one quarter of businesses in Okotoks belong to the Chamber of Commerce.  By increasing that to 30%, he’ll have to convince 100 more businesses to become members.

Gustafson will take over from Amber Chapman during the Chamber’s annual general meeting on Jan. 20. Sara Noyes will be appointed president elect and Joelle Guzzo will become vice-president.  Jody Deny will move into the executive secretary position and Dana Johnson will remain in the treasurer’s position.

Gustafson’s ambitious goals to increase membership means that the Okotoks Chamber will need to increase staff in the office.  This move is outlined in the Chamber’s current strategic plan, which should also increase the organization’s effectiveness in community advocacy for local business in Okotoks.

He hopes to pick up on the work undertaken by Chapman to strengthen ties between the Chamber of Commerce and local government and both the Alberta and Canadian Chambers.

One of the legacies that Chapman will leave behind is an idea she brought back after a Chamber gathering in P.E.I. several years ago.  A chief executive officer was hired in 2014 to reorganize staff and manage the Chamber’s affairs.

As membership grows, it’s hoped that members will jump into active and become more involved in Chamber events such as luncheons, award ceremonies and the annual general meeting.

The Jan. 20 meeting will be held at D’Arcy Ranch beginning at 11:30 a.m. Tickets are $25 for Chamber of Commerce members.

About Andrew Gustafson

A graduate of the University of Calgary with a Bachelor of Science in 20000, Gustafson realized his dream of owning his own gym when he opened Natural High Fitness in Okotoks nearly a decade ago.

His father is a pharmacist and his siblings also have their own business, so Gustafson comes from a family of Alberta entrepreneurs.

The first location of his Okotoks fitness facility was in the Recreation Centre, which he calls a unique partnership between a privately run business and local government.  The second location opened recently in an Okotoks warehouse which provided plenty of space to expand Natural High’s existing program offerings and create new ones.  Natural High Crossfit and Endurance Performance Centre is a space full of sunlight and positive energy.

Gustafson says his programs have a 95% retention rate. 

In addition to his degree from U of C, he has acquired a number of certifications such as exercise physiologist, level 3 CHEK practitioner and level 3 holistic lifestyle coach.

About the Chamber of Commerce

As a non-profit organization, the Okotoks and District Chamber of Commerce is led by volunteers in the community and is dedicated to help business develop and thrive for the benefit of all in the community.

The roots of a business network began in Europe in the 17th Century.  The first North American chamber was founded in the U.S. in 1912 and the International Chamber of Commerce was founded in 1919.

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