The Cape Girardeau Chamber of Commerce has hired Old Town Cape executive director Tim Arbeiter to fill the new position of vice president of community development.
Arbeiter will begin his new job in 90 days. Meanwhile, Old Town Cape's board of directors has begun a national search to hire a new executive director.
Tom Higgins, president of the Old Town Cape board, said board members hope to have a new director in place by May 1.
"We are looking to interview toward the middle or end of March and hopefully have a candidate determined by the first of April," he said.
The Old Town Cape organization will continue to promote downtown redevelopment efforts, Higgins said.
John Mehner, chamber president, said he approached Arbeiter about the new chamber position.
He said a number of large chambers of commerce have such positions. Arbeiter will become second in command on the Cape Girardeau chamber staff.
Mehner said the chamber, with its 1,200 members, is one of the largest chambers in the state. As such, Mehner said the civic organization needs a person who can help administer its operations and take charge in his absence.
The local chamber currently has six staff members and another four who operate the Convention and Visitors Bureau.
In his new role, Arbeiter will spearhead community development efforts including redevelopment and oversee the chamber's public communications including news releases, Mehner said.
The job description called for a person who would be a "team player" in the operation of the chamber.
Mehner said Arbeiter brings a number of attributes to the job.
"You see his love for the community," said Mehner. "He is extremely sharp. He is an extremely good relationship builder."
Mehner said Arbeiter also has a good knowledge of state government, funding matters and redevelopment efforts.
Arbeiter said he believes his Old Town Cape experience will help in the chamber's efforts to encourage redevelopment and historic preservation projects.
Arbeiter, who grew up in Cape Girardeau and graduated from Southeast Missouri State University with a business administration degree, has headed up Old Town Cape for the past 14 months.
He said he enjoyed the job, but couldn't pass up the chamber offer.
Arbeiter and his wife, Pam, have a daughter.
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