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Chamber president chosen to lead in Eau Claire

Jed Carlson / Douglas County Chamber of Commerce President/CEO Dave Minor speaks at the Belknap Street construction ribbon cutting event in Superior in April.

When he visits Superior in 10 years, Dave Minor hopes to see the Better City Superior project gracing the downtown skyline and a Chamber of Commerce roster that has doubled in size. But he'll have to watch that progress from afar.

Minor, who has served as president and CEO of the Superior-Douglas County Chamber of Commerce since 1996, will be moving south. He's been tapped to lead the Eau Claire Area Chamber of Commerce as its new president and CEO, effective July 1.

"I'm glad for him, he's got a great opportunity," said Superior Mayor Jim Paine. "Of course it's a loss for this community. He's done good things for development."

"He's been a fixture of promotion and development in Douglas County for so long, I think he's going to be missed," said Douglas County Board Chairman Mark Liebaert.

Minor has a way with words and has been "the face of the chamber" over the years, said Chamber Board of Directors President Charlie Place.

From construction projects to ribbon cuttings and Superior Days delegations, Minor was there. He's helmed the chamber through 11 board presidents, six mayors, three county board chairmen, three University of Wisconsin-Superior chancellors and three School District of Superior superintendents, leaving behind a legacy of growth and teamwork.

Membership has doubled over his tenure and the Chamber has partnered with local government, schools and other development agencies time and time again.

"Dave Minor helped to bring us together as a team to work for the city and county metro area instead of competing," Liebaert said. "Maybe that's Dave Minor's legacy. He, having worked with both of us, brought us to the table."

Minor, 58, also launched a youth leadership program that has touched many lives. Now in its 14th year, the program's graduates number more than 500.

"On a personal note, I will miss his positive attitude, his always upbeat disposition, his passion for the job, and his love of Superior and Douglas County," Place said. "His leadership will be greatly missed."

In a double stroke, Minor's wife, Jackie, will also be moving to Eau Claire. She leads the Superior-Douglas County Family YMCA as its CEO.

"We both feel so blessed to be part of this community," Jackie Minor said.

"My heart and soul is in this YMCA. It's not easy to walk away."

Although she stepped into the role of CEO two years ago, Minor has been working at the YMCA for 30 years and it's become like a family to her.

"I could say nothing but good about this YMCA," she said. "It was here before I came and it will be here after I go,"

She plans to stay through July to officially hit 30 years with the YMCA.

The move to Eau Claire brings the couple closer to family, including their daughter in La Crosse, and opens new doors.

"It's an opportunity for a new challenge," Dave Minor said. "I'm walking into a great opportunity, a wonderful place."

The opportunity opened up about three weeks ago when the Eau Claire Chamber reached out to Dave Minor and asked him to come for an interview. The couple prayed and discussed, and decided to make the move.

Both the YMCA and chamber boards of directors plan to meet Tuesday to discuss their next step. Until a new leader is chosen, Dave Minor said, current staff members will steer the ship. They had a dry run of sorts two years ago when he fell and was laid up for nine months.

"I couldn't ask for better people," he said. "Take a deep breath. These people have it. They know what to do. They're ready, they're going to take care of what needs to be done."

Both Minors said that, although they may have leadership positions, it takes a team to get the work done.

"Anytime you see a turtle up on top of a fence post, you know he had some help," said Dave Minor, quoting author Alex Haley.

He thanked the Superior community and chamber for allowing him to make his own mark, and hopes the incoming CEO will do the same.

"They're not filling my shoes," Minor said. "They're bringing their own with them."