Beck named head of Mount Olive Chamber
By Steve Herring
Published in News on June 9, 2014 1:46 PM
Julie Beck, the new president of the Mount Olive Area Chamber of Commerce, is seen in the Chamber of Commerce office.
MOUNT OLIVE -- Julie R. Beck has been named president of the Mount Olive Area Chamber of Commerce.
"When the board began to seek a candidate who met our qualifications and requirements, we kept coming back to Ms. Beck," said Chamber Chairman Jonathan Bond. "Her experience with our Chamber of Commerce, as well as her leadership and networking skills, made her a perfect fit for us. She has served as a member of our board of directors for 12 years and as the chairperson of the North Carolina Pickle Festival for 20 years. She is well-versed in our community and Chamber work.
"We are duly impressed with what she has accomplished in the past five months as our interim president, and we know that her diverse background will help us to broaden our impact in the community."
Ms. Beck, who had served as interim president since January, is known as a world traveler who is gone for weeks at the time during the summer.
"When I came on as interim I had already told them I was going to South Africa this summer," she said. "So obviously when it came time to put in for the full-time position I knew it was a 12-month job, and that was probably the hardest thing to look at.
"I figured I'd been 26 or 27 years without working in the summertime so why change my ways now?"
When Chamber officials asked if she was interested, she told them she had a few stipulations.
"My first and most important is that I have to have time to travel," she said. "My thing to them is if I am not traveling in the summer, I am not happy. If I am not happy, I am not the productive Julie everybody knows me as. I think they expected to hear that.
"I can't be gone all summer long, but I can be gone for a time period. I think wherever I go my mind is on the Pickle Festival. Now it will be Pickle Festival and Chamber. I am pretty good about seeing something and think, 'Hum, how can we tweak that and adapt it to what we need?'"
During the summer while she is gone, the Chamber office will only be open Tuesday through Thursday, but the summer is normally slow anyway, she said.
Ms. Beck said one of her goals would be to create a new chamber directory.
"It has been nearly 10 years since we have had a directory," she said. "It is so old."
Also, the Chamber is expected to launch its new website in September, she pointed out.
Ms. Beck said she and Wayne County Chamber of Commerce President Kate Daniels have had many conversations about working together during her five-month tenure as interim president.
"We are not trying to lose our identity as the Mount Olive Chamber, but I think there are things resource-wise that we could use that they have," she said.
Another project is a consortium for festivals in the area from Kinston to Wallace to Goldsboro to northern Wayne County. The group would meet three or four times a year to share ideas and promote each other's events.
"We are not in competition with one another, we can only help each other," Ms. Beck said. "Along the same line, I don't know why the chambers can't work together."
Ms. Beck, a native of Montpelier, Ohio, earned a bachelor's degree in communications and public relations from Bowling Green State University and a bachelor's degree in English literature from Mount Olive College. She also earned a master's degree in Parks, Recreation and Tourism Management from North Carolina State University.
Previously, she worked as an educator and event planner at Mount Olive College, North Carolina State University, Wayne Community College and the Wayne County Public School System.
In addition, Ms. Beck has been active as a volunteer with the Wayne County Chamber of Commerce, United Way of Wayne County, the Mount Olive Jaycees, Friends of the Parks, North Carolina College Personnel Association, North Carolina Association of Festival and Events, and Hosteling International.