Archive for Thursday, August 26, 1999


August 26, 1999


The Lawrence Chamber of Commerce plans to hire a new president by Christmas.

The Lawrence Chamber of Commerce is looking for a new president to succeed Gary Toebben, who is leaving after 18 years to take a similar job in northern Kentucky.

During a board meeting Wednesday, the chamber named a search committee and established a timetable for the process. Advertising for the job will begin next month in publications for chamber organizations, including U.S. Chamber, with applications due Oct. 15.

According to the schedule, a new president is to be named Dec. 22.

"It would make a nice holiday season for all of us if we could get this done," said Mike Scott, who will chair the committee.

The new president will earn at least $75,000, and lead an organization representing 1,200 business members.

Judy Billings, director of the Lawrence Convention & Visitors Bureau, will serve as interim president from the time Toebben leaves until a new president is hired. She said she would not be a candidate for the job.

Members of the search committee:

  • Scott, chair-elect of the chamber's board of directors and director of external affairs for Southwestern Bell in Lawrence.
  • Barbara Ballard, a chamber board member, state representative and assistant vice chancellor for student affairs at Kansas University.
  • Marilyn Bittenbender, former chair of the chamber's board and a Realtor for Stephens Real Estate.
  • Joe Flannery, president of Weavers Inc.
  • Ann Gardner, a member of the chamber's executive committee and editorial page editor of the Lawrence Journal-World.
  • Mark Gonzales, president of Commerce Bank of Lawrence.
  • John Immel, chair of the chamber's board and a local attorney.
  • Bob Johnson Sr., former chair of the chamber's board, retired chief executive officer of Charlton-Manley Insurance.
  • Kurt von Achen, president of Douglas County Development Inc. and a local architect.

-- Mark Fagan's phone message number is 832-7188. His e-mail address is

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