Richard Ray appointed President of Prattville Chamber

Prattville chamber president appointed By Marty Roney mroney@gannett.com – Montgomery Advertiser

The Prattville Area Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors has appointed Richard C. Ray as chamber president.

Ray, 63, replaces Jeremy Arthur, who resigned last April to become President and CEO of the Chamber of Commerce Association of Alabama. The Prattville chamber has been led by interim president Patty Vanderwal, who will remain with the chamber as executive vice-president.

Ray retired from Alagasco in 2011, he became the Montgomery/Selma Division Manager for the utility in 2009. He has served two terms on the Prattville chamber board, including one year as chairman.

“After retiring I’m rested and recharged and ready to get involved again,” Ray said. “Prattville has always held a very special place in my heart, and I’m glad that I will be working to move the community forward and to make Prattville and Autauga County a better place to live for everyone.”

Ray lived in Prattville from 1967 until 1982, when his career with the gas company moved him. He’s a graduate of Autauga County High School, the fore runner of Prattville High School.

People shouldn’t expect any big changes right off the bat.

“I hope to bring organizational and leadership skills,” he said. “The chamber does an excellent job, but the organization is at the point where it has to move to the next level. There are some slight changes to some programs that are needed, but overall we just need to continue what we do best, selling a great community.”

The chamber is a “vital” part of the city’s economic development efforts, said Mayor Bill Gillespie Jr.

“Economic development is like a wheel with many spokes,” he said. “The city’s public safety and public works departments play a role in economic development, as do our schools. Our citizens and our businesses have their part to play.

“The chamber gives us the ability to reach outside the community to recruit industry and businesses. So it is vital to have an active chamber to continue the growth Prattville has seen.”