It’s Thanksgiving week, and I am particularly grateful for this community. From the moment Rebecca and I set foot in Beaufort, this community’s welcoming spirit has never faded. I’ve gotten a strong reminder about the warmth and goodness of this community from the farewell phone calls, emails, and conversations I’ve had over the past few weeks.

As I prepare to turn the page on a new chapter of my career and life, I want to take a moment to express my thanks.

First and foremost, sincere thanks to the four remarkable Chairmen of the Board with whom I’ve had the pleasure of collaborating: Evan Wheeler, Ben Coppage, Jennifer Tuckwiller, and Graham Somerall. Each brought their unique talents, professional networks, and areas of emphasis to the forefront, while maintaining a commitment to strengthen the Chamber and enhance the prosperity of our community. Few perks come with Chamber Chairmanship other than lots of meetings and off hours phone calls. Working alongside these dedicated leaders has been a privilege.

I also want to express gratitude to my exceptional, talented and dedicated colleagues Myrna Cruz, Susan Fogleman, Hannah Myatt, Ginger Olszewski, and Megan Morris. Each day this group of professionals has brought an unwavering commitment to our mission and to the success of our members with zero drama. It is a rare and special to work on such a great team. I will always be only a phone call away.

Special thanks also to Shawn Hill and Tony Junker from SK Marketing, who’s dedication and enthusiasm have made them more like team members than vendors. Same sentiments for past Board Chair and current Chamber accountant extraordinaire Kendall Erickson who kept this first-time CEO financially in line.

Volunteer leaders are the lifeblood of any thriving Chamber, and I am particularly grateful to the members who have given generously of their time and talents. The Chamber’s success over the past few years wouldn’t be possible without the diligence and focus of the Board of Directors. Their unwavering support has given me the confidence to push further to advance our important mission.

I’ve had to push myself to match the tireless efforts Chamber Ambassadors bring to our signature events and membership engagement. I doubt I’ll ever know a group of volunteers more willing to roll up their sleeves.  Chairman Neal Pugliese, Vice Chair Warren Parker, and the members of the Military Enhancement Committee have been shining examples of the patriotism and spirit of service that makes Beaufort and exceptional and proud military community.

Partnerships have made this work deeply rewarding and are critical to any success for the Chamber. I extend my deep appreciation to partners like Jess O’Brien at the Beaufort Digital Corridor, John O’Toole and Charlie Stone with Beaufort County Economic Development Cooperation, Marilyn Harris with the Beaufort County Black Chamber, and Robb Wells with Visit Beaufort-Port Royal. They are all playing critical roles in the community’s success, and I am thankful for the collective impact we’ve made together.

One of the most fulfilling aspects of my role has been the engagement with elected leaders and government officials from the City of Beaufort, Town of Port Royal, Beaufort County, and the Town of Yemassee. Whether working in alignment or working through the occasional disagreement, we have navigated challenges and celebrated successes for the betterment of our community. Your jobs are exceedingly more difficult in the social media era. I wish more members of the public better appreciated your depth of commitment. Among the great cadre of elected officials, I’ve been privileged to work with, I’d like to particularly thank Representative Shannon Erickson. Beaufort is lucky to have you.

As I prepare to transition from my role, my deepest hope is that this region’s business community maintains its focus on diversifying the region’s employment base. More good paying jobs in more economic sectors means more opportunity for Beaufort’s kids and grandkids to stay and thrive here. That’s good for the region’s workforce and for the preservation of our history, culture and traditions. We also owe it to future generations to ensure everyone who works in our community can afford to live here too.

Finally, I wish everyone confidence in the future. While there is much to cherish in our region’s history, I’m convinced that Beaufort’s best days are ahead. This community has the talent, the heart, and the resources to achieve any goal it sets and sticks with. Stay focused on the windshield, not the rear view mirror.

Thank you, Beaufort, for an unforgettable chapter in my professional journey.

Ian D. Scott