After nine years of piloting the Sylvania Area Chamber of Commerce, Executive Director Pat Nowak has announced her retirement to the board of trustees. It becomes effective the end of March, 2015.
Nowak had been the director of marketing and public relations for the former Seaway Food Town Supermarkets chain. She was also the public relations director and fashion director for The Lion Store. Immediately before assuming the Sylvania Chamber position, Nowak served as manager for the Erie Street Market. In addition, she is the author of “The ABCs of Widowhood,” a practical and easy-to-read self-help book for those undergoing a loss from a death or divorce and serves as a speaker on the topic. She also presents “Suddenly Single” seminars, which focus on the emotional and financial aspects of being single.
When Nowak donned the chamber leadership “hat” she brought along her “kit bag” filled with the expertise gained from all her previous experiences. She was able to implement several successful innovations allowing her to fulfill the goals she set for the organization. Nowak had determined to grow the chamber, make it prosper and assume a leadership role in the city and township. Her ultimate goal was for the Sylvania chamber to be the premier suburban chamber in northwest Ohio.
Under her guidance, Nowak was able to grow the annual business expo into a major trade show for the city and township. One of her first directives was to move the then fledging expo to the Tam-O-Shanter Sports & Expo Center. She initiated a preview party for expo participants and chamber members as well as created a business awards program, the “Chamber Champions,” who are announced at the annual party.
Nowak also resurrected the car show, making the event one of the largest in the area. Under her direction, the chamber has become the organizer of several community events including “Takin’ It To The Streets,” movie nights for families, Chamber Chat Connection, and Girls Night Out.
In addition, Nowak brought Pizza Palooza to Centennial Terrace, an event that grows in popularity each year, attracting thousands of guests from northwest Ohio and southeast Michigan.
Other Innovative Events and Programs
Four years ago, Nowak launched the Artists Hall of Fame; inducting world-renowned Sylvania artist Walter Chapman as the first honoree and celebrating his 100th birthday year at an inaugural gala event in conjunction with the Sylvania Area Arts Commission’s first Maple and Main Art Fair. She and the chamber initiated Almost Oktoberfest, another popular event featuring a number of craft breweries in the region.
In addition to growing chamber membership numbers, Nowak has also brought a myriad of value-added services to members including group health insurance. She served as the catalyst for the creation of the Sylvania app for iPhone users. And, thanks to her long-term relationships with all media, she has been able to extensively publicize all of the chamber events.
Nowak has also pursued economic development opportunities for the area. She and her staff welcome new businesses locating in the area by hosting ribbon-cutting ceremonies and inviting the chamber membership to provide maximum exposure. She has led the chamber’s economic development committee, oftentimes working behind the scenes to help businesses, both large and small, decide to make the Sylvania area their home.
The chamber board has not named a replacement at this time.