New Manager Takes Helm At Chamber

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Tina Bruess brings a decade of experience and resources from all over Arizona, California, Oregon, Nevada and New Mexico to the job of executive director of the Rim Country Regional Chamber of Commerce. Bruess started her new job this week.

"I've been in the chamber industry for more than 10 years and am active in both the state and regional associations," Bruess said.

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Tina Bruess

She was selected from a field of 26 applicants, according to Judy Miller, president of the chamber's board of directors.

"We ended up interviewing five," Miller said. "All were topnotch. There were so many good resumes. But Tina is the only one with chamber experience and we thought that was important."

Bruess' plans for the future and any changes that she might have in mind are on hold until after the chamber board's strategic planning meeting Monday.

She comes to the Rim country from the Carefree/Cave Creek Chamber of Commerce, where she was executive director from 1997 until 2003. Prior to that, she worked as a volunteer with the organization.

"I've worked with Bob (Ware) for a number of years, so when he took his new job, I knew this job would be opening," she said.

Bruess and her husband, Charlie, have vacationed in the area off and on for the past eight years.

"I love the area," she said.

They have been residents of Arizona for about 13 years, moving here from the San Francisco Bay area. Right now, Bruess is commuting from the Valley, but she and her husband will be moving to the area as soon as their home sells. Her husband is semi-retired and will be working from home once they make the move.

"People are what drew me into chamber work," Bruess said. "It's a wonderful industry."

Her years in the industry and her contacts in the Arizona Chamber Executives Association and the Western Association of Chamber Executives have given her both the experience and contacts to meet any challenge that comes her way in the new job, Bruess said.

"We help one another. We're not in competition," she said. "I bring a fresh outlook to the job and vast experience in dealing with diversified communities, plus a tourism background."

Bruess has extensive management and program development experience working with business owners, elected officials, community leaders and investors.

When not making the commute to the Valley or getting familiar with her new position, Bruess said she enjoys gourmet cooking and entertaining.

"I'm a football fanatic," she said, admitting a special fondness for the Raiders and Vikings.

"I love vintage clothing. I don't have a collection of my own, but I model for a woman who does," she said. "She puts on a program ‘What we wore' at different events and for clubs and organizations."

Bruess said the collection includes authentic pieces from the 1700s through the 1940s. And her favorite periods?

"For the glamour and ladies dressing to look like ladies, I'd have to say the beaded dresses of the 1920s," she said. "If I had a maid to help me dress, it'd be the late 1800s."

She enjoys politics and said she is a firm believer in being active in her community.

"The other joy of my life is being a new ‘granny' with a four-month-old granddaughter," Bruess said. "My son and his wife live in 29 Palms, Calif., where my daughter-in-law is a Marine."

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