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Chamber welcomes new president Ryan Hrechka, thanks outgoing prez Aaron Ruston

Hrechka, a partner with the law firm Grayson and Company, was welcomed into the president's role during the chamber’s annual general meeting on Sept. 22 at the Heritage Inn.

Businessman Ryan Hrechka is the new president of the Moose Jaw and District Chamber of Commerce, replacing outgoing president Aaron Ruston.

Hrechka, a partner with the law firm Grayson and Company, was welcomed into the role during the chamber’s annual general meeting on Sept. 22 at the Heritage Inn.

“It’s my pleasure and honour to become the president of the Moose Jaw and District Chamber of Commerce for the upcoming year. It’s a great community with great people to work for and live,” Hrechka said.

The new chamber president thanked Ruston and the board for their leadership and direction in guiding the organization during the past year. This enabled the chamber to help community businesses overcome the pandemic’s effects. 

“Although the storm of COVID-19 during the last two years seems to be finally moving on, right now we’re facing the clean-up, which includes supply-chain issues, labour shortages, inflation, and likely recession according to all the news outlets,” Hrechka said.

While some businesses found new opportunities for success, others were faced with long shutdowns while society faced uncertainty, he continued. He believed the hard work and enthusiasm of chamber staff allowed the organization to find new ways of doing business, engaging with businesses and weathering problems.

Everyone will have to pull together going forward, but Hrechka was confident that could happen and that the business community would build on that optimism and enthusiasm. 

“We will continue to build bigger and better in the coming years. I’m very excited for the year ahead. It’s going to be a very busy one,” he said. “As a chamber, we will continue to be the voice of industry and commerce for our community, and we will be working hard to make our business voice louder.

“I know we can do it,” Hrechka added, “and I know that Moose Jaw always has come through — and it always will.” 

Outgoing president’s comments

“It has truly been an honour this past year to be involved with the chamber, and not only with the board and executive (but) being president of it,” Ruston said. 

“During my time as president of the chamber, I was privileged to be part of many different (and) exciting events, both publicly as well as decisions made to help move the local businesses and public forward in the ever-changing and new reality, which is our world.”

Participating in the 20th annual MJBEX Awards, celebrating the 15 finalists and gathering with people after nearly three years was exciting, he said. Seeing the outcome of the Live, Love, Local campaign and Ding Dong Ditch campaign was satisfying, while it was also great to participate in the chamber’s online think tanks.

The chamber has 572 members, which is a great achievement, while the overall success of the business community is also amazing, Ruston continued. He praised the “endless energy” of the chamber staff, who helped create a vibrancy amongst local businesses that other chambers provincewide envy. 

“The board could not be prouder of each of them (chamber staff) and what they have fearlessly plunged into … ,” the outgoing president remarked. 

Moving from Kelowna, B.C., to “the heartland” of Canada 22 years ago was a great decision for Ruston and his family since they realized how special Moose Jaw— and its famous moose “with the oddly shaped antlers” — was. The city welcomed the family as they became involved in the community.

“The future is bright,” Ruston added, “and we are each part of this as we build for not only our futures but generations to come.”

New board members

The AGM welcomed new members to the board for two-year terms, including Don Young, Jasmine Cameron, Megan Patterson, Scott Greenough and Shelly Dahlman. 

Finances

Andrea Gilliam with BTN Accountants presented the chamber’s financials. She noted that the audit was good, while the chamber finished 2021 in the black.