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Poll to lead Chamber

News Photo by Steve Schulwitz Alpena Planning and Development Director Adam Poll, left, chats with City Manager Rachel Smolinski at City Hall on Thursday. Poll has been hired as the new Alpena Area Chamber of Commerce president and CEO.

ALPENA — The Alpena Area Chamber of Commerce has chosen a familiar face in local economic development to replace former Chamber president and CEO Jackie Krawczak.

Alpena Planning and Development Director Adam Poll will take the reins of the Chamber on March 30, the business group announced on Thursday.

Chamber Board Chairwoman Eileen Budnick said Poll was chosen from a highly qualified pool of candidates from inside of Alpena and beyond.

“We are fortunate to have found such a talented and driven candidate locally in the area,” Budnick said in a statement. “We are excited to have Adam join the Chamber team and look forward to the great things his leadership will bring.”

Poll, who has played a critical role in many projects in the city, said he is proud of what he was able to help accomplish, but is looking forward to his new job.

“For the last six years, I have been honored to be able to work for the City of Alpena and assist with many great projects,” he said in a statement. “I am very excited to be able to continue to work with this amazing community and to be given the opportunity to affect positive change for not only the City, but the entire Alpena area.”

Poll’s last day working for the city will be March 27.

Poll’s new gig continues significant changes at both the Chamber and City Hall over the last six months. The city lost longtime city manager Greg Sundin to retirement at the end of December. He was replaced by former Harbor Springs Downtown Development Authority director Rachel Smolinski. Poll also interviewed for the city manager’s post.

The Chamber’s economic development director, Jim Klarich, moved to a new job late last year, and Krawczak did the same in January. Klarich was replaced by Alpena Downtown Development Authority President Mike Mahler.

Smolinski said the loss of Poll is a large one for City Hall, but she knows he will thrive at the Chamber and build upon the accomplishments he has already enjoyed.

“I’m really excited for him, because it’s a great opportunity for him to step into a leadership role,” Smolinski said. “I’ve only worked with him for a short time, but he has done tremendous things and will be missed. I’m very happy he and his family are going to remain in Alpena.”

Alpena Mayor Matt Waligora said Poll has done a good job during his time with the city and wishes him continued success in the future. Waligora said Smolinski will lead the search for the next planning and development director and that process will commence immediately.

“Adam Poll has been an incredible asset to the City of Alpena,” Waligora said. “He has been instrumental in bringing millions of state and federal dollars back to our community through grant funding. He’s educated himself, and city council on countless topics that most of us never thought we’d be discussing.”

Krawczak worked with Poll on many projects. She said his hiring is a good one for the Chamber, because of the passion Poll has for Alpena and all of Northeast Michigan.

“I am happy to see Adam was chosen for the Chamber president position,” Krawczak said. “One of the most important things a person in that position must have — in addition to competencies to achieve success — is a love for the community. Without a doubt, Adam has that. He has my full support, and I’m excited to see the Chamber thrive under his leadership.”

Poll said his time working with Klarich and Krawczak will help him settle into his new role.

“I think the insight I received from them is probably going to prove invaluable to me,” he said.

Steve Schulwitz can be reached at 989-358-5689 at sschulwitz@thealpenanews.com. Follow him on Twitter @ss_alpenanews.com.

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