BENNINGTON — Bennington native Matthew Harrington has been selected the next executive director for the Bennington Area Chamber of Commerce, according to incoming Chamber President Ed Woods on Monday.
Harrington, 30, replaces Joann Erenhouse who retired in June. Son of the late local radio personality Bob Harrington, Matthew Harrington was selected from many applicants who went through multiple interviews with both the Chamber selection committee and the executive board.
"We did a national search and took a good deal of time to make a careful and strategic decision," stated Woods. "We wanted someone with energy, great communication and leadership skills; someone who understands the Chamber's mission, the uniqueness of Bennington and brings vibrant, modern and progressive ideas to the role. Matt fits that description and will be a great addition to the Chamber."
Harrington, who received his undergraduate degree from the State University of New York College at Oneonta in Oneonta, New York, returned to the area after working at Media Logic, an advertising firm in Albany.
"I came home to work in my family's leadership and employee development firm started by my mother 30 years ago. Little did I know I would fall back in love with Vermont, Bennington and the community," jokes Harrington.
Working at New Directions in North Bennington, Harrington ran the branding and marketing efforts for the company focusing on customer sales, rebranding the firm, and using new technologies to enhance its presence nationally. While at the firm, Harrington helped acquire contracts with international organizations like Coca-Cola, Keurig Green Mountain, and Alcoa.
In 2013, Harrington co-wrote "Survival of the Hive: 7 Leadership Lessons from a Beehive," published by Authorhouse. After the book was published, Harrington began giving talks and trainings around the country on leadership, specifically about the Millennial generation entering the workforce.
"Working at New Directions gave me an opportunity to build the skills necessary to operate a small business in Vermont. From branding and marketing, to customer satisfaction and sales, proposal writing, finance and public speaking, New Directions provided a platform to hone many skills I think will be useful in this new position." Harrington said.
When asked about his vision for the future of the Chamber, Harrington replied, "I think we have a window of opportunity here. Bennington has many unique businesses, activities, events and a small town feel that is very attractive to both visitors and residents. We need to build the Chamber's membership, work with various associations in town and throughout the state and utilize technology to achieve a dynamic, collaborative, and financially sustainable organization. My goal is to create a presence that speaks to our core mission of increasing member satisfaction, encouraging the entrepreneurial spirit, and promoting Bennington as a 'destination of choice.'"
Harrington also serves on many local associations including the Bennington Economic Development Partners, the Better Bennington Corporation, the Bennington Young Professionals, and the Bennington County Regional Commission. Harrington, who also volunteers regularly for the Chamber, has been one of the lead strategists behind the successful Vermont Begins Here campaign through the town of Bennington. When asked about his role in the community, Harrington stated, "I see the role of the executive director as being out in the public, talking with shop owners, encouraging strong business and community activities, working with various town groups, advocating for small business at the state level, and facilitating strategic partnerships to move Bennington forward – I want businesses to want to be a part of the Bennington Chamber."
"We think Matt is a great example of the type of professional we want coming back into our community and as a leader and contributor to our community's future success. We are excited to see where the Chamber will go with him at the wheel," Woods commented.