Chamber chooses director

Jacob Lane · Tuesday, October 24, 2017
The West Liberty Chamber of Commerce has chosen! Stephanie Martin will be the next director of the local community furtherment organization.

“West Liberty has been a great place to grow up and raise my family and I want to see West Liberty as a community stay successful,” says Martin.

Martin took over the role this month, it’s been nearly five months since former Director Victor Oyervides vacated the position last May.

In the meantime Priscilla Haessig has filled in at the helm of the Chamber of Commerce on a voluntary basis. Thanks to her it’s been business as usual.

Director Martin is a community member to the core, she moved to West Liberty when she was 11. She and her husband Greg have raised six children.

“I applied for the director’s position as I have always been an active member in my community,” she said. “When the position became available I thought this is a great way to be even more active and give back to a community I love!”

Martin has been involved with a little bit of everything as her kids have grown up, including Girl Scouts, Religious Ed instructor, coaching, the Athletic Booster Club, fine arts, Aquarius Club, TTT, Eastern Iowa Sledheads, PTO and Treats for Troops.

Most recently she has been the Mentoring Coordinator for the West Liberty Youth Dream Catchers, headed by Ed and Carol Moreno.

So, it makes sense that she would try to get involved with West Liberty’s Chamber of Commerce, responsible for so many annual events in the community.

In fact, her first assignment has been going business-to-business, not only introducing herself but organizing the upcoming Holiday Open House.

The annual Holiday Open House is scheduled for Sunday, Nov. 19, 1-4 p.m. During the event many local business open their doors for food, fellowship and fun.

“I have participated or attended activities and events that the Chamber has been involved with most of my life,” she says.

“I’ve always done as much shopping locally as possible and would like to take a more active role in the Chamber’s Buy Local Campaign as well,” she added.

The Buy Local campaign has been another Chamber project. As its name suggests, it aims to encourage community members to shop in their own town.

Stephanie Martin’s husband Greg owns Martin Agency Insurance Services, Inc. here in West Liberty, while she has run an in-home t-shirt business known as LiberTees.

At the moment they have one grandson with a brand new grand baby on the way, due in March.

“My grandparents and parents lived here, and I’ve lived here most of my life and one day I’ll leave grandchildren behind who will live here and be invested in our community,” she says.

Though it’s calmed down a bit, the West Liberty Chamber of Commerce has been in a state of transition for the last few years.

It all started when Letha Ottaway, director of nine years, retired in 2014. Soon after the Chamber left its location at the Train Depot and moved downtown.

Director Victor Oyervides was hired in 2014, a position he held until 2017. During that time the Chamber office moved into the Regional Learning and Cultural Center.

During it all the Chamber has still managed to take charge of community events such as the Fair Parade, Picnic in the Park and Community Garage Sale.

“I hope I can bring fresh new energetic ideas to the table, while still keeping some of the long time traditions alive that we all want to pass down from generation to generation,” says Martin.

“Each director in the past has done their best, and I can guarantee I will put forth my best effort,” she adds.

Director Martin and the Chamber can be reached by calling 319-627-4876, or by email at

She plans to do more, but for now she wants to get her foot in the door and communicate with the board of directors to learn more about their goals.

The current Chamber Board consists of President Jens Zalzala, Past President Steve Hanson, Ethan Anderson, JJ Garcia, Anne Hocke, Deb Lowman and Michael Torres.
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