Wendy (Kuenning) Werner has been hired as the new Executive Director of the Syracuse Area Chamber of Commerce.  With the retirement of Carolyn Gigstad, the Chamber of Commerce Board was seeking a new director.

“I always thought Carolyn was the perfect fit as Executive Director and I hope I can adequately follow in her footsteps,” said Werner.  

After receiving her Bachelor of Arts in Public Administration from Doane University, Werner’s career began in 1988 working for the Nebraska Investment Finance Authority.  Over the next 25 plus years, she worked for companies and organizations that supported, developed, or managed housing.

The last eight years, Werner has held positions with membership organizations (those that rely in part on membership dues for operation - much like the Chamber of Commerce).

Werner is married to husband, Randy, who is a Syracuse native.  They have two children. Madeline is a sophomore at UNL and Nolan is a sophomore at SDA High School.  They reside outside Syracuse on the family farm started by Randy’s parents.

Werner said, “When my children were younger, I was a lot more involved in the community and volunteered with local organizations, but as they got older, I had less spare time.  I had been looking for an opportunity to get involved again when the Chamber announced Carolyn’s retirement.”

She continued, “Since my children were old enough to understand, I told them Syracuse was their town, too, and it would always be their hometown and we all had a responsibility to help.”  Madeline was Little Miss GermanFest in 2008, and they had a lot of fun promoting the community of Syracuse in all the area parades.”

She said though there will be a learning curve, her goal over the next year is to learn about the Chamber of Commerce, make connections with the members, and get a handle on all the events and meetings.

Chamber of Commerce President Jeni Leefers said, “Our hiring committee feels fortunate to have found such a qualified person to fulfill this role as our long-time Executive Director, Carolyn Gigstad, retires.  We are confident that Wendy’s enthusiasm, experience, and professionalism will keep our Chamber organization moving forward in a positive direction.”