Tami Khuntia, the charismatic 2012 president of the Orland Park Area Chamber of Commerce officially handed her seat over to a calm and collected Marc Lochow during an installation ceremony last week.
Their differing leadership styles were on display as the two addressed the audience at Silver Lake Country Club, but so was their shared passion for the chamber and its success in 2013.
"Marc is a wonderful man," said Khuntia, whose business is Sparks Auto Care & U-Haul. "He is a silent worker. He doesn't talk much but he gets things done… I think he will make a wonderful president. I'm looking forward to it."
Khuntia's farewell address was full of jokes and flowery adjectives as she described her year as president. "It was the most memorable time of my life that I'll treasure for the rest of my life just because people like you make it so glamorous," she said.
Looking to the year ahead, Lochow emphasized the importance of the chamber's members and his hopes for the coming year.
"For me, it is about getting to know each one of you on a more personal level," he said. "I want to know what you do and why you do it. I want to know what I can do to make your job easier and more enjoyable."
He pointed out how much the business organization has grown the past 10 years under the direction of Executive Director Keloryn Putnam, more than doubling its size to 565 members.
His mission for 2013, Lochow said, is to focus on retaining those members by building useful programs and events that will motivate them to stay involved.
"We always welcome and want new members," he said. "But we need to make sure we are retaining our current ones."
Lochow joined the chamber in 2004 and took on a leadership role in 2006. He has been involved ever since and last year served as the chamber's vice president.
A graduate of Sandburg High School in Orland Park and Southern Illinois University at Carbondale, Lochow, 41, has spent most of his career working at his family business PrintSource Plus in Blue Island. He said he purchased the company from his parents nine years ago.
The Orland Park resident said he sees signs of an improving economic climate for area businesses. To build on the progress, he said, the chamber will stay in close contact with Orland Park village officials to make sure businesses have the information they need to grow within the community.
He hopes to maintain that working relationship so area businesses will know how major village projects such as the Main Street Triangle and La Grange Road expansion might affect them in the coming year.
"I think things are going along well," he said. "It's just a matter of making sure we stay on the right track, fine tune things and give the members what they're looking for."