When any high-profile leader steps down - whether it's a county or city administrator, a university chancellor or a chamber CEO - it gives a community the opportunity to assess its goals and priorities.
It was announced Friday that Lavern Squier will step down as president and CEO of the Lawrence Chamber of Commerce after five years in that post. The press release indicated he would leave the job after "an appropriate transition period" to pursue other opportunities. The chairman of the chamber's board of directors noted that Squier's talents would be hard to replace.
In the press release, Squier said that the approach of his five-year anniversary with the chamber "gives us all a cause to evaluate our program of work and look forward to the opportunities that await us." That, he said, includes individual opportunities for himself as well as opportunities for the chamber and community.
While a transition in a key position like the chamber executive always poses some challenges, it also suggests opportunities. The search committee representing the chamber should conduct a broad search to find a new executive who will bring both experience and vision to the Lawrence Chamber of Commerce. The community may be at a crossroads from which it can either slide or prosper. The new chamber CEO will be a key person in setting what we all hope will be a successful course for Lawrence's future.
Friday's press release listed a number of chamber accomplishments and collaborative efforts that were initiated during Squier's tenure. The community should thank Squier for his service to Lawrence and wish him well in the future.