Make us your home page
Instagram

Plant City Chamber hires new president

Former United Food Bank executive director Christine Miller starts as chamber president Aug. 15. 

Former United Food Bank executive director Christine Miller starts as chamber president Aug. 15. 

PLANT CITY — After a nationwide hunt, the Greater Plant City Chamber of Commerce found its new president within a 10-mile radius of its office.

Christine Miller, who most recently served as the executive director of the United Food Bank of Plant City, is set to start as the new chamber president Aug. 15. She'll be taking the reigns from Marion Smith, who has served as the president since 2001. Smith retired in May.

"I am so thrilled," Miller said. "I have loved my time here at the food bank, but I'm so excited to lead and serve my community in a different capacity. This city is poised for such tremendous growth … to be a part of this is so exciting."

As president, Miller hopes to continue the chamber's existing legacy by enhancing the quality and value of membership and bringing in new members.

Miller first fell in love with the city back in 1997. On one of her first dates with her husband, Les, the duo went on an outing in Historic Downtown. Right away, Miller knew two things: that she would marry Les, and that she would live and raise a family in Plant City.

"I loved that there was a center," Miller said.

In her new role, Miller plans to strengthen the existing businesses in downtown and across Plant City by forming the chamber into a one-stop shop for resources. She is already collaborating with Plant City Economic Development Corp. president Jake Austin, City Manager Mike Herr and Plant City Main Street on growth efforts.

"I want to be the resource for them," Miller said. She added that she'll have a focus on small businesses in particular, as they capture the essence of the Plant City community. "I would love to see businesses come to downtown, midtown. It's a beautiful thing when we can have small businesses. It's a necessity."

Miller is a former small business owner. She worked alongside her husband for their health and wellness company, Arbonne.

"I know the value that chambers can add to growing your business within the community," Miller said. "I want to listen to chamber members and get their input, what they love about the chamber and what they would love to see."

The job comes with many moving parts, but it's a task Miller is well-acquainted with through her role as director at the United Food Bank of Plant City. In that position, she expanded existing programs, brought in new programs and increased the number of people served in East Hillsborough.

When she first came on board in 2012, there were 12,000 people served annually. In 2015, the food bank served over 30,000 people. Miller also was responsible for introducing Money Smart, a program at the food bank that teaches financial literacy to those living at or below the poverty line.

According to the Chamber board, Miller's experience serving the Plant City community and leading businesses to success are what made her the right person for the job.

"Although there were several qualified applicants from outside of the community, Christine's qualifications, experience and proven commitment to Plant City's growth combined to confirm her as the best choice for the new Chamber president," said Matt Buzza, leader of the selection committee.

Contact Emily Topper at etopper@plantcityobserver.com.

Plant City Chamber hires new president 07/22/16 [Last modified: Friday, July 22, 2016 4:27pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Gov. Rick Scott's family history of alcohol abuse could decide 'liquor wall" bill

    Legislature

    TALLAHASSEE — Gov. Rick Scott must decide Wednesday whether to let Walmart and other big-box stores sell liquor, and he says a factor in his decision is the history of alcohol abuse in his family.

    Florida Governor Rick Scott is considering a veto of a bill that would allow Walmart, Target and other big box retail stores to sell liquor. [Andres Leiva | Tampa Bay Times]
  2. As St. Petersburg's Jabil Circuit broadens its business, it shrinks its name to Jabil

    Corporate

    St. Petersburg's Fortune 500 company, Jabil Circuit, informally tossed aside the "Circuit" in its name some time ago. That's because circuit board manufacturing, the company's core business for decades, has been squeezed out by a broader business agenda ranging from consumer packaging to supply chain management.

    Jabil Circuit informally dropped "Circuit" from its marketing material and signage, like at its St. Petersburg headquarters, years ago. Now it's official.
[Times file photo]
  3. Kahwa Coffee to open second drive-thru store in St. Petersburg

    Retail

    Kahwa Coffee will open its 12th location and fourth with a drive-thru in a former "farm store" in St. Petersburg.

    Kahwa Coffee will open its 12th location and fourth with a drive-thru in a former "farm store" in St. Petersburg.
[Times file photo]

  4. Target Corp. reaches $18.5 million settlement with 47 states over data breach

    Retail

    Target Corp. has agreed to pay Florida $928,963 out of a newly-announced $18.5 million settlement over a huge data breach that occurred in late 2013.

    Forty-seven states and the District of Columbia have reached an $18.5 million settlement with Target Corp. to resolve the states' probe into the discounter's massive pre-Christmas data breach in 2013. 
[Associated Press]
  5. John Morgan 'prepared to invest $100M' in medical marijuana

    State Roundup

    John Morgan spent nearly $7 million pushing two statewide ballot initiatives to expand medical marijuana throughout the state of Florida.

    Personal injury lawyer John Morgan says he's ready to invest $100 million in medical marijuana. [SCOTT KEELER | Tampa Bay Times]