Gregory Buckler started as the president and CEO at the Lebanon Valley Chamber of Commerce on Monday, and even weeks before the start date, he knew just how full his calendar would be.
“(Outgoing president and CEO) Larry (Bowman) has been populating it for the last couple weeks with things,” Buckler said in early July about getting ready for his new assignment. “It's mostly meeting and engaging with as many people as I can to let them know there is a change, but there is still a commitment to everything they're expecting from and become accustomed to from the chamber.”
Buckler talked with the Business Journal about the strengths and challenges of the Lebanon Valley, its people and where he sees the chamber heading:
Q: You haven't started yet, but what are your plans for the chamber?
A: I want to build on the foundation that's there, because it's really strong. I want to be able to strengthen the value of the chamber and enhance the chamber's position in the community, to have it be the voice of the business community and a connector to bringing in more jobs. I certainly want to add more technology and social media into that process.
What areas do you think Lebanon County is the strongest in?
In everything that I've seen and interacted with so far, it's the people. They have a commitment and a passion for the area. They've been really great in accepting me. The people really are the strength of the chamber.
Where do you think it needs the most work?
As a chamber, there are things we can do now to strengthen our voice as an advocate. The chamber exists to be that voice, and it has done a lot recently to increase its influence. I'll be building upon that.
What interested you in this position?
I've been familiar with the area, and I've had connections that really enjoyed the area. It seemed like the right fit, and as the search process continued, everything seemed to line up and make sense. I started to learn about the people of the area, its history, the industry, the growth opportunities, and I really thought I could contribute to taking the chamber on its next step. I really like the strategic plan the chamber put together last year. It asks the right questions and is steering the chamber in the right direction.
Where do you want to see the chamber in 10 years?
I want to have more members, but I'm not quite comfortable putting a number on it. Mostly I'd like there to be more influence and to strengthen the chamber's influence in the state legislature.
Title: President and CEO, Lebanon Valley Chamber of Commerce
Formerly: Vice president of membership, Maryland Chamber of Commerce in Annapolis
Lives in: Pasadena, Md., but relocating to Lebanon County
Family: Wife, Cindy, married 12 years. Children, Abby, 8, and 2-year-old twins Riley and Chase.
Education: Undergraduate degree from West Virginia University, two master’s degrees from the University of Maryland University College — an MBA and another in finance and management with a specialization in nonprofits and associations.