Chamber of Commerce names president; New Windsor conference coordinator Grady to fill post Dec. 1


Bonnie Grady of New Windsor has been named president of the Carroll County Chamber of Commerce, succeeding Helen Utz, who is retiring in December.

Grady, conference coordinator at the New Windsor Conference Center, was chosen because of her credentials and because "she interviewed very well on paper and personally," said Louna Primm, chairwoman of the chamber's board.

Grady, who will remain at her New Windsor job until beginning as president Dec. 1, will have about a month to work with Utz before taking over the chamber's reins.

"Bonnie is a highly energetic and positive individual, and we are just excited to have her," Primm said.

The chamber board changed the post's title from executive director to president, keeping with a national trend.

"The chamber is managed on a day-to-day basis by the executive director, or president, and the board of directors sets the policies," Grady said. "The president serves the daily needs of the business community."

Primm said the president's functions include developing the operating budget, providing vision and direction to the chamber, interacting with the chamber's 800-plus members, reviewing legislative bills and responding weekly to legislators during the Maryland General Assembly.

The president oversees a variety of membership services, including educational opportunities to business owners and employees, and collaborates with other business groups.

"Having been a business owner myself, I appreciate the joys and struggles of owning a business," Grady said. "I look forward to making that job easier for business owners."

Grady has been a county resident and chamber member since 1984, when she moved from Virginia's Tidewater area.

She worked for the federal government for 10 years as a clerk typist, then as a security assistant, before leaving to start her own business in 1981.

For six years, she operated a direct sales handbag and luggage business, then quit to go back to school. She received a bachelor's degree in communication and writing from Western Maryland College.

"I had gotten involved in public television while at school and wanted to go into television," she said. "I knew what I wanted, and I went after it."

While in school, she worked for Maryland Public Television as a stagehand, then was offered a contractual-basis associate producer position. Upon graduation in 1991, MPT offered her a producer's job.

"I created and produced 'MPT on Location' with Rhea Feikin," Grady said. "We had a lot of fun with that."

Grady applied for, and received, a general manager's position that had opened up at PrestigeVision Channel 3. During her year there, "we created a lot of new programming and did a lot of community interaction," she said.

Grady worked as a free-lance producer and director for the next year before joining the New Windsor Conference Center.

Grady and her husband, George Kerns, have two daughters and a grandson.

She praised the county's business community as "dynamic, full of energy, interested in trying new things, very forward-thinking. I'm looking forward to continuing that work. I'm excited about seeing what's out there now and traveling into the new millennium."

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