DADE CITY — Nita Beckwith, a former official with the Pasco Building Association, is the new executive director of the Greater Dade City Chamber of Commerce.
Beckwith, 40, comes to the table with 14 years as an executive director — with both the Pasco and Hernando County Building Associations — under her belt.
The experience apparently impressed the chamber, which picked Beckwith out of more than 50 applicants in September.
"I came from my interview at 2 o'clock and by 5 o'clock they called and said I had the job," Beckwith said.
Beckwith, who lives in Brooksville, did not disclose her salary.
Beckwith replaces former director Tony Lister, who left after a few months on the job for personal reasons. Before Lister, Phyllis Smith led the chamber for more than 20 years.
The 470-member organization runs several community events, including the annual Kumquat Festival and Christmas Parade. The chamber is also charged with promoting area business.
On Monday, Beckwith's first day on the job, lawmakers failed to approve a $700-billion bailout for the country's economy and businesses nationwide took a hit as the stock market plummeted.
Beckwith comes from the building world and is no stranger to dealing with cash-strapped industries.
She said the country's financial woes enhance the need for professional organizations like the Chamber of Commerce.
"I think if anything, members need to be part of an organization like this in a downturn so they can keep each other going and find new and innovative ways to keep their businesses going," she said.
Helen Anne Travis can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (813) 435-7312.