"I really hadn't thought too much about it," said Yingling, who became chamber president on Sept. 1.
Several people had approached him about joining the chamber. At the time, he was working to get his accounting business going full time after helping his parents operate Yingling's Golf Center at 20220 Jefferson Blvd., which the family sold in 1990.
Yingling said that after he joined the chamber, he learned it had much to offer. Had he known how much help it could provide, he would have joined earlier, he said.
"I have met a lot of people, people that know how to get solutions to problems," he said.
"There seems to be a misconception that the chamber is here for big business when the truth is the vast majority of our members are small businesses," Yingling said.
As a small business owner, Yingling will bring a new perspective to the chamber presidency, said Fred Teeter, the chamber's executive vice president.
Yingling succeeds Phil Kelly, who worked at Citicorp.
The perspective he brings to the job includes the experiences the owner of a small business acquires from being involved in every aspect of the business, said Yingling, who employs three people.
The chamber has a variety of programs that can help business owners, including a business advisors roundtable where participants can receive problem-solving suggestions from other business people, Yingling said.
When the Hagerstown Ice & Sports Complex opened at the Fairgrounds in August 1997, Yingling was asked to sort through the "shoe box" financial records from the rink's construction and start-up period, and to compile records that rink officials eventually used to approach banks for loans, said William M. Breichner, a City Councilman and rink board member.
Yingling, of 324 Chimneystone Court, volunteers his services for the Black Rock Golf Course, said Connie Richards, a board member for 10 years.
Yingling said that as chamber president he wants to continue Kelly's theme of partnering with public and private organizations, increase member benefits and help develop a cafe district downtown.
Yingling is a 1968 graduate of North Hagerstown High School and a 1972 graduate of the University of Maryland at College Park. He was accounting manager for the City of Hagerstown from October 1978 to May 1981.