Faces Profile: Lee Wilder - Executive Director of Chamber of Commerce

Barb Rachetta 08/06/10More articles
Lee Wilder is the executive director of the Baldwinsville Chamber of Commerce, a position she has held since she joined the Chamber three years ago.

Tell me about yourself.
Wilder: I (was) born and raised in Baldwinsville. I have two daughters, Danielle and Mallory, (whom) I was also lucky enough to raise in this community as well. I have six brothers and sisters, (who) all moved out of the area and now also reside in Baldwinsville raising their families. It is a fantastic experience to be able to a part of this community.

What are some of the things the Chamber does?
Wilder: The Chamber tries to implement new ways to introduce business to business, whether it is a networking opportunity at an after hours or monthly Chamber luncheon. We want to help promote local business as much as possible and see substantial growth. We also have the capabilities in the office for smaller business members may come in, hop on the computer, use the fax (or) copy machine. If a smaller-business person works out of their home and needs office space to conduct a meeting or interview, we will always accommodate them.

What is your job description as Executive Director?
Wilder: Hmm good question…I believe my job is to mainly to put business in touch with other business, (to) be the go-to person out in the community for people to express ideas (and) concerns. I work closely with the Village and GBEDA to express wants (and) needs of the community and its residents. By the way, everyone — Yes, we still need grocery store over at Smokey Hollow. That is a common request of some of my visitor's in the office. Believe me, Dave Murraco, owner of Smokey Hollow Plaza, has been trying relentlessly to get a grocery store in there.

What are some of the things you have accomplished as
Executive Director of the Chamber?
Wilder: Things I have accomplished over the last three years is bring new benefits to the chamber members, such as our office that has functional office space for members use. We are on round two of bringing a stronger, more useful website to our members. is an amazing site, that with the drive of our director, Shane Kennard, and Think Advertising, is an amazing tool for our members.
One of the most amazing events I was part of giving birth to is the B'ville Big Chill. This is a huge fundraising event for our membership and two charities. This event is a polar bear plunge and chili cook-off that takes place the last weekend in January. The first year it was unbelievable cold, but our park was full of participants and onlookers. The village restaurants were busy throughout the day and evening. The primary reason we try and put together events is to bring people from out of the area to our community and see what we have to offer.

Are there any changes you would like to see take place?
Wilder: The only thing I would like to see more of is member involvement. You can only do so much without members being active. I would especially like to see some of the more seasoned members get back involved to keep some the traditions (and) values going.

What do you like best about being the executive director?
Wilder: I like being involved and in all aspects of the community the best.

What do you like the least?
Wilder: When anything goes wrong or someone doesn't like things happening in the community, whether its directly Chamber related or not - I tend to be one of the first one’s they come to see to vent their complaint.

What are your plans for the future with regard to the Chamber?
Wilder: My current most recent goals for the Chamber is to continue to work closely with Web Reid from the GBEDA to bring awareness of local retail and commercial space. We have three major areas we are trying to pin point available space and specs such as the Tri County Mall area, Smokey Hollow area and downtown Village properties. For anyone (who) has property in these areas and wishes to take part in a tour of available space this fall, please contact me at 638-0550 or

Who has been your biggest inspiration?
Wilder: There is a very important person (who) truly instilled in me the true meaning of Chamber of Commerce and "Keeping it Local" to our community. He is bigger than life in his pride and loyalty to his company (and) community. He was a director on our board for several years and a huge inspiration to many throughout the community. Curtis Toep, Industrial Engineer for Anheuser-Busch, has brought more fundraising dollars to this community through his company. Curt was instrumental in obtaining funding dollars through Anheuser-Busch to have the amphitheater built on Paper Mill Island. The Budweiser Amphitheater, continues to drive commerce into Baldwinsville by bringing thousands of out of town people each summer to our community. This is not only good to the promoter that puts the event together, but to every business in the community that chooses to cater to the crowds. These events help bring possibilities of continued growth to the area. Have a dinner special with your ticket stub from the island, be creative with hair cut specials, bowling, retail shops, etc... Sometimes you need to adapt to what's going on in the community and find a way to make it work for you.

Curtis Toep retired from Anheuser-Busch in 2008, but continued to show support and be involved in the community. Curt lost his battle to cancer July 29, 2010.

CATEGORY: General Society
EDITION: Baldwinsville Messenger

Rating: 1.0/5 (3 votes cast)

Comments powered by Disqus

Talk to Us!
We want you to know that your opinion matters. Please complete our online form and give us your feedback today.