New Tualatin chamber director forges forward
While Roy Gugliotta, the new chief executive officer of the Tualatin Chamber of Commerce, had sent out resumes to chambers of commerce in Washington, Arizona and Oregon, his preference was for Oregon, having first lived here in 1990.
"I was here for a little while," he said. "I really liked the area, liked the people."
An avid runner back then, he was initially baffled by weather in the Beaver State.
"I put my shoes on to get ready to go running, and it was raining, so I said, 'Well Ok, tomorrow, I'll run tomorrow,'" he recalled. "Well, the thing is it was raining every day, so I started to ask, I said, 'How the heck does everybody do anything here?' They said, 'You just get the right clothes and you go out and do it.'"
And that's just what Gugliotta did.
Gugliotta recently took over for Linda Moholt, the Tualatin Chamber's longtime CEO, and over the last several weeks, he has been trying to get a feel for the position Moholt held for a decade.
"She really did an outstanding job," he said. "I'm stepping in not only having to learn what she did, but also, the harder thing is just getting to know all the people."
Gugliotta most recently worked as CEO for the Rohnert Park Chamber of Commerce in California, serving a city of more than 40,000 residents about 50 miles north of San Francisco. He ended up wearing two hats there, working as both the chamber director as well as the city's economic development director.
But he learned how to run a chamber of commerce earlier in his career as CEO of the Camp Verde Chamber of Commerce, in an area of Arizona that's big on tourism — with three national parks and five state parks, situated in an area with a beautiful backdrop of the mountains.
Gugliotta said he befriended the CEO of the nearby Sedona Chamber of Commerce, someone who would become a mentor, teaching him about the tourism industry.
"Sedona itself would get up to 2 million visitors, and the Grand Canyon got over 4 million and all those visitors filtered through all of Arizona so it was a very, very exciting time," said Gugliotta. "You learn a lot."
His other jobs included working with the mayor of Cotati, California, a small city right next to Rohnert Park, because the mayor needed help in developing the business part of his programs.
"I worked with him and did consulting work with the businesses," said Gugliotta. "Then I went back into chamber work because the economy was coming back."
At one point, both Gugliotti and wife started Art of Success, a consulting firm. His wife still works in the accounting portion of the company.
"It was actually very good, because by doing that, I started to really learn ... what small businesses are going through," Roy Gugliotti said. "We hit a lot of ups and downs, and the businesses, these are men and women who have put their life savings and energy in creating their business. They've had a very hard road. And so in the consulting of them, you crawl right inside. You get a real sense of the challenges that they face."
That includes their concerns and fears and how they could overcome them, he noted.
Right now, Gugliotta said he's trying to get to know his 11-member board.
"They're very kind, gracious, and Linda (Moholt) said the city is really quality people and a quality city, and I'm really starting to pick that up and starting see why she had that comment," he said.
As far as immediate plans for the Tualatin Chamber of Commerce, Guglotta said Moholt "laid a really good foundation" so much that he simply wants to live off the strength she placed in the Chamber."I said that what we have to do we have to keep our finger on the pulse of the potential of the Chamber, the business community and the city, and of course the surrounding area, and then we have to come up with how we can take advantage of the various opportunities."
Gugliotta said he's a big believer in Peter Drucker's observation: "Results are obtained by exploiting opportunities not by solving problems."
Susan Noack, chair of the Tualatin Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors, said Moholt's long leadership of the chamber made it tough to find someone to fill her shoes, but the board is pleased to have Gugliotta on board.
"His vast chamber knowledge and experience is impressive and we are certain he will continue to be the leader our members need to weather the pandemic and navigate these challenging times affecting us all in 2021," said Noack.
She said the chamber remains in a strong position to be the information point for the community.
"Roy has his running shoes on to make sure we move forward and strive and thrive," Noack said.
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