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Greencastle-Antrim Chamber head gets into community spirit

November 24, 2009|By KATE S. ALEXANDER

GREENCASTLE, Pa. -- After two weeks on the job, the newly appointed executive director of the Greencastle-Antrim Chamber of Commerce said he is pleased to combine his work and civic involvement in a way that benefits his community.

Joel Fridgen took the helm of the Chamber on Nov. 9, not long after retiring from 27 years in the printing business.

A native of Minnesota, Fridgen said he and his wife, Pat, came to the area 12 years ago and have never considered leaving.

"Greencastle-Antrim is our home; we love it here," he said. "This is a unique and wonderful place to live, and we plan on staying here until the good Lord calls us home."

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Work brought Fridgen to the area when his company, Carson Craft, acquired Regency in Waynesboro, Pa.

Serving as president of Regency better prepared Fridgen for his new role with the Chamber, he said.

"Throughout my printing career, I did of a lot of civic involvement," he said.

As a father of five, newly elected school board director and involved member of the community, Fridgen said he wears many hats around Greencastle.

Fridgen said community is at the heart of what he does. How he defines community, however, depends on the hat he's wearing.

"Personally, community is my place of residence and the fact that I have an obligation to contribute to its success," he said.

From patronizing local businesses to giving time to his church, Fridgen said he believes in making a difference locally.

"As executive director, my sense of community includes not just Greencastle, but Antrim (Township) as well," he said. "It is my job to make certain we promote both."

Community extends farther than the businesses in town or the lines on a map, he said. It is a collective spirit of goodwill and a desire to affect positive change, he said.

Fridgen said he has approached his new position from a community perspective.

Planning to meet with every Chamber member, he said his intent is to put his energy into specific goals set to meet the mandates of the Chamber's mission in the township, as well as downtown.

While those goals have yet to be set, Fridgen anticipates working in 2010 with the Chamber's board of directors to establish and meet those goals.

"We have an engaged board that is really very positive about change," he said. "When I say change, that is not because what the Chamber was doing was bad, but because as a Chamber we can't stay stagnant. Progress will allow us to make what we do even better and bring new ideas to the table."

As he adjusts to his new job, Fridgen said he welcomes feedback from residents and business owners.

"I want to know what concerns you have about Greencastle-Antrim and get a sense of what trends are out there."

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