#7 News Story:Thurow resigns from chamber; Miller named new president

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

The Greater Eureka Springs Chamber

of Commerce experienced a big change

in April when its president and chief

operations officer, Tammy Thurow, resigned.

The Citizen spoke with Thurow

and chamber officials to determine what

led to the resignation and whether it really

was a resignation at all.

Thurow said she had been planning to

resign for quite some time, saying she

had two job interviews in Northwest Arkansas

before resigning from the chamber.

The day she resigned, Thurow said,

she had already moved most of her personal

items out of her office.

Cathy Handley, chairwoman of the

chamber’s board of directors, said she

didn’t expect Thurow to resign the

day it happened. Handley said she was

meeting with Thurow about a salesperson

Thurow recently hired. Thurow said

chamber officials asked her to resign

at the meeting. Handley said it didn’t

happen quite like that, saying she and

Thurow clashed over the salesperson

Thurow wanted to hire.

Thurow said she and the chamber

board agreed to say she resigned to pursue

other business opportunities, saying

the chamber didn’t follow through

with that. Thurow said the

chamber sent out a press release

announcing the resignation

without saying Thurow

would be pursuing other

business opportunities.

John Speed, second vice

chair of the chamber board,

said Thurow caused the uproar

by going to local businesses

to talk about the chamber the

morning she resigned. It was difficult

to do her job fully, Thurow said, because

the chamber’s executive committee

changed the rules regularly. Handley

said the executive committee can’t

constantly change the rules, because the

board meets once a month.

Moving forward, Speed said the

chamber had nothing to hide from the

community.

“Our meetings are open. Our minutes

are public. We have total transparency

about everything that has happened and

transpired,” Speed said. “I don’t think

we have anything to hide.”

And when it comes to Thurow?

“We wish her well,” Speed said.

“We do wish her well,” Handley said.

“We hope she finds a job and has a great

life. We just really want to move forward.”

The chamber found its

new leader in May, agreeing

to hire Paul Miller as the

new chief operating officer.

Miller officially started July

1, saying he was 100 percent

committed to his role and the

community.

“I’ve been part of Eureka

now for five years, six years,

so as far as settling in, I’m just very excited

to start the position,” Miller said.

Miller described what brought him

to Eureka Springs, saying he and his

wife, Catherine Pappas, relocated from

Houston years ago. Since moving here,

he said, the two have started a business.

They have already worked with the

chamber, he said, and feel confident in

it.

“We’ve had a tremendous experience

with the chamber. We were well-invited

into the community. We always felt included.

We always had that reach back

to them,” Miller said.

Miller spent the last 17 years with

NASA. He said he was excited to bring

the love he has for business development

and creative business models to

Eureka Springs to unify the chamber

and the local businesses it serves. In

his first six months on the job, Miller

launched the Jackrabbit Reservation

System, organized the 47th annual Antique

Auto Festival and kicked off holiday

cheer with the Christmas parade.

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