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New officers and members of the board of directors have been sworn in to lead the DeLand Area Chamber of Commerce & Orange City Alliance through 2020.

The passing of the gavel from last year’s president, Amanda Agnew, to the new year’s president, Lita Kapuscinski, came during an installation banquet Jan. 27 for Florida’s oldest Chamber of Commerce, which traces its roots back 130 years.

The guest speaker was Dr. Jerry Parrish, an economist with the Florida Chamber Foundation, whose message was to encourage West Volusia’s businesses to do good in the community.

In her address, Agnew said it had been an honor to serve in 2019, and she thanked the board, staff, committee chairs, volunteers and Chamber members “for making it an amazing year.”

She noted there had been a number of successes during her term, including an increase in membership and a reduction in expenditures. Agnew also cited a lengthy litany of accomplishments, and thanked several people for going above and beyond in carrying out many of them.

“So I will close out my remarks by saying again how absolutely honored I have felt to serve as your president last year,” she said, crediting Joe Hearn with creating a solid foundation in 2018. “I worked alongside so many others to grow upon that foundation in 2019, and I look forward to Lita and her leadership making sure our businesses and community continue to do well.”

After DeLand Mayor Bob Apgar swore in the 2020 officers and County Council Member Barb Girtman swore in the directors, Executive Director Tammy Mauldin recognized 77 businesses, organizations and individuals who are Legacy Members, meaning they have been members of the Chamber for 25 or more years — including eight whose memberships have run 50 years or more.

Kapuscinski outlined her goals for the year when she spoke. Her top priorities are to keep growing the Chamber’s membership through networking and special events, and overseeing the launch of the Wellness Initiative Network to provide better wellness access to members and their employees.

Before introducing the committee chairs for the year, Kapuscinski gave a nod to the Chamber’s history.

“As the legacy Chamber in Florida, it is important that we respect and honor the past, but grow a bright future for our children and those to come,” she said. “Having such a rich legacy of 130 years gives us a broad foundation to grow our legacy.”

The 2020 officers are Kapuscinski, an AdventHealth executive, as president; Robert Doan, an attorney with Cobb Cole, as vice president; Amy Gipson, of Stetson University, as secretary; Mark Russell of Tinker Graphics & Marketing, as treasurer; and Agnew, a State Farm agent, as past president.

Rounding out the board of directors are Laurie Asbury, Family Health Source; Sandy Baker, Mainstreet Community Bank; Loren Criche, DaVita Labs; Suzanne Forbes, James Moore & Co.; Elizabeth Godwin, Duke Energy; Libby Molesky, Complete Parachute Solutions; Todd Phillips, Orlando Sentinel; Natali Reyes of Paul, Elkind, Branz & Kelton; Kellee Smith, Prestige Property Specialists; and Keri Wagner, DaVita Labs.


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