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Phoebus takes reins of CHIEF

May 08, 2001

Phoebus takes reins of CHIEF



By SCOTT BUTKI

scottb@herald-mail.com

Richard W. Phoebus Sr. will replace Merle S. Elliott as president and chief executive officer of the Hagerstown-Washington County Industrial Foundation Inc. on June 1.

Elliott will remain with the foundation, known as CHIEF, as chairman of the board.

Elliott's decision to step aside leaves "very large shoes" to fill, said Hagerstown Community College President Norman Shea, a member of the CHIEF board since 1986.

"Merle has really been at the heart and soul of CHIEF," Shea said.

CHIEF is lucky to have someone as qualified as Phoebus to take over the reins, he said.

Trying to fill Elliott's shoes "will be a tough thing to do. Merle has done an awful lot of good, hard work for this organization," Phoebus said.

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CHIEF, a private, nonprofit group, has played a major role in building industrial parks and luring companies to Washington County. It was formed in 1960.

Elliott has been involved with CHIEF for more than 40 years, 26 of them as president, according to a prepared release from CHIEF. During that time CHIEF developed industrial parks in Washington County, including the 70/81 Industrial Park north of Williamsport, and assisted in other projects.

The announcement came less than two weeks after Phoebus' retirement after a 41-year career in the banking industry.

Phoebus, 62, announced March 8 that he would retire from Home Federal Savings Bank on April 30. He had been Home Federal's chairman, president and chief executive officer since January 1981.

Phoebus said he has been interested in the work CHIEF does and thought the work would be interesting. Some of the job skills he acquired from working in the banking industry are transferable, he said.

"The job is essentially full time," he said. "It can be a lot of hard work."

While CHIEF will for the most part continue to operate as it has in the past, there may be times when it does something new or different, he said.

Elliott and CHIEF have done a wonderful job for Hagerstown and Washington County, Shea said.

His work with CHIEF, including the creation of industrial parks, has helped companies get started or expand, Shea said. Thousands of jobs were created as a result of Elliott's work, he said.

While the board is involved, it frequently was Elliott who did the hard work, according to Shea.

"Merle is very much the person who has led the effort," he said.

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