Chamber announces Cotter as new board chair, Menard as new president

By LYNETTE SOWELL
Cove Leader-Press 

The Copperas Cove Chamber of Commerce hosted its annual banquet with a Roaring Twenties murder mystery dinner, recognized businesses and individuals, and announced new faces to two top positions of the organization. 
Jennifer Cotter with H-E-B Plus! was announced as the chamber’s newest board chair, with board member J.C. Stubbs turning over the gavel to Cotter at the banquet. 
“My number-one goal when I became chair of the board was to try to leave the chamber better than I found it, and no thanks to me, we did that,” Stubbs said. “I had a very, very good chair who came before me, Ms. Tammy Rodriguez. She did all the heavy lifting, she made all the right decisions, and all I had to do was run what she had already started.”
He also thanked Tobin for putting in the “sweat equity” to make the chamber run, and called Liz Sherman joining the staff of the chamber the “icing on the cake.” 
Interim Chamber President Maurice Tobin said that Stubbs’ leadership was instrumental in helping the chamber turn around and go a new direction. 
“I appreciate his leadership, I appreciate his transparency, most of all his ability to break down things to the simple, straightforward real-life stuff,” Tobin said.  
When announcing Cotter as the new board chair, Stubbs said she stood out from the rest of the board from the very beginning. 
“We just knew (she) was destined to take my place. She fought us a little bit – no, a lot,” Stubbs joked, “but we unanimously voted against her will to make her the next chair.”
Cotter said that Stubbs’ leadership left her big shoes to fill and that he was a hard act to follow. 
Perhaps the biggest announcement of the evening came with naming Alicia Menard as the chamber’s new president. She will directly oversee the chamber’s operations and events. 
Menard, who spent nine years at the Lampasas County Chamber of Commerce, seven of those as its director, left her position prior to opening Unwind! Café and Tasting Room in Copperas Cove a little more than two years ago. 
“It has been a wonderful journey that evolved into what it is today because of the overwhelming support from not only you but the Copperas Cove community in its entirety,” Menard said, adding that she realized how much she loved and missed working for the businesses and the community at a chamber of commerce. 
“I realized it was more than a job or a profession for me, but it was my passion.”
The chamber’s most recent interim president, Maurice Tobin, held that position for a little more than two years. He will continue to work for the chamber, said Stubbs. 
Along with the announcements of new chamber leadership came awards on Friday evening, with Janet Johnston being named Chamber Ambassador of the year.
Copperas Cove’s late mayor Frank Seffrood was named The Friend of the Chamber, with Rita Seffrood accepting the award on her husband’s behalf.
Best Supporter of the Chamber went to Papa John’s Pizza. Small Business of the Year award went to Amy’s Attic, which has hosted a number of the monthly Coffee & Commerce events begun in 2018. H-E-B Plus! received the Large Business of the Year award. 
In addition to the monthly Coffee & Commerce gatherings in 2018, there were four military affairs dinners held by the chamber’s Military Affairs Committee. Committee Chair Robert O’Dell thanked H-E-B Plus!, saying the store was “instrumental in getting us back on track.” 
O’Dell presented the local H-E-B store management with a plaque for their support of the military affairs dinners. 
Other guests in addition to chamber membership were local elected officials to include Copperas Cove mayor pro tem Dan Yancey, councilman Marc Payne, and Coryell County judge Roger Miller, and representatives from Congressman Roger Williams and Texas House District 59 Representative J.D. Sheffield’s District Director, Gary Kafer. Additionally, CTC’s chancellor Jim Yeonopolus and CCISD superintendent Joe Burns were in attendance. 
Outgoing chamber board member Dr. William Louis was recognized for his service on the board. In addition to Cotter and Stubbs, the board is rounded out by Tammy Rodriguez (AdventHealth), Charlotte Heinze (CCISD and Chick-fil-A), Bradi Diaz (Dewald Properties), Erica McPhail (Century 21), Jack Smith (Jack Smith Homes), Ashley Whitworth (First Texas Bank), Pat Bernhard (H.I.S. Contractors), Tania Culpepper (Walmart), Marsha Siler (AllState – Ira Brand Financial), and Michelle Rocha (Navy Federal Credit Union).  

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