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Tranum to step away from Chamber, MAST in 2021

Todd Tranum

Only one person has held the title of president and chief executive officer of the Chautauqua County Chamber of Commerce while simultaneously holding the title of executive director of the Manufacturers Association of the Southern Tier.

That person is Todd Tranum and his tenure will wrap up one year from now.

On Monday, the chamber announced in its Chautauqua Business Weekly Newsletter that Tranum, who has provided the boards of directors of the Chautauqua County Chamber of Commerce, Manufacturers Association of the Southern Tier, Dream It Do It Western New York, and Chautauqua Benefits Specialists, will transition out of his leadership roles with the organizations. His resignation will be effective July 31, 2021, which provides a full year for organizational transition and the smooth integration of new leadership.

MAST Board President Rhonda Johnson and Chamber Chairman Fred Johnson issued a joint statement as follows: “The Chautauqua County Chamber of Commerce and Manufacturers Association of the Southern Tier remains committed to serving the needs of businesses in the region. These are challenging times for many in the business community. Yet, we remain dedicated to helping our member investors navigate through the current turbulence and provide the support and services they need. These times present both challenges and opportunities for our organizations as well. We look forward to working with many of you to seize the opportunities and continue our mission to build a better business environment in our region.

“We are very grateful for Todd’s 21 years of dedicated and well-considered leadership and service to our organizations and to our community. We look forward to working with him to effect a smooth transition over the coming 12 months. Further, we wish him all the very best in his future endeavors.”

A Sinclairville native, Tranum has been overseeing MAST since July 16, 1999. In 2008, the chamber named him as its president and CEO.

“It took a great deal of soul searching to come to this decision,” Tranum said in a phone interview Monday afternoon. “It’s not the result of a job offer or anything of that nature. It’s just time for me to pursue some new and different business ventures.”

By giving the Chamber and MAST a full year before he departs, Tranum believes the organizations will be able to properly weigh what their best options are, if they still want to have a single leader for both groups.

“I think it’s an opportunity to look for some new leadership and have a new perspective,” he said.

Tranum has seen the county go through a number of changes during his tenure. When he first returned to the county after working in Arizona, the Manufacturers Association just represented the Jamestown area. It eventually grew to Chautauqua County and then later expanded to include Cattaraugus and Allegany counties as well as portions of Pennsylvania.

Also, when Tranum began his tenure with the county chamber, there were five community chambers, all which operated independently.

“I’m proud to say we created more cohesiveness with the chamber organizations across the county,” he said.

Other highlights during his tenure include Dream It, Do It, which helps provide Allegany, Cattaraugus, Chautauqua, Erie and Niagara manufacturers with a labor force that has the skill and training levels required to meet their demands, as well as working with BOCES to create P-TECH, a multi-year program that prepares high school students for careers in advanced manufacturing.

Tranum believes future challenges include helping small businesses increase foot traffic and drive commerce to their stores as well as continuing to help manufacturers find a skilled workforce.

“We need to encourage young people to come back to the area, or attract young people to come here,” he said.

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