Hales Corners - After almost eight years in the role, Donald Schwartz ended his time as president of the Hales Corners Chamber of Commerce, effective Oct. 31.
"It is with a heavy heart and sadness that I'm resigning as president of the Hales Corners Chamber of Commerce," he said in an email to chamber members.
In the coming weeks, the chamber will appoint a temporary president who will fill the role until elections are held in April.
Though Schwartz has elected to focus more on his "day job" as vice president of project development and communications for Scherrer Construction Company, he still plans to remain heavily involved in the Hales Corners community as a village trustee, president of the Friends of Hales Corners Park and Pool and liaison to the Veteran's Memorial Committee.
Schwartz also plans to be community-driven in his day job's non-profit organization, Scherrer Cares, where he will be playing an integral role in their statewide anti-bullying campaign.
Under Schwartz's leadership, the chamber grew from 20 members to 103 and was recently recognized as one of the top 25 chambers of commerce in southeastern Wisconsin by the Milwaukee Business Journal.
Schwartz was integral in getting the chamber re-chartered in Wisconsin. Shortly after being elected as a village trustee in 2003, former Hales Corners Village President Jim Ryan asked Schwartz if he could work to revitalize the chamber, as the new Pick 'n Save had just opened in the village.
After 14 months of work, the chamber was registered with the state in July 2004.
Though saddened to leave the organization, Schwartz expressed confidence in the chamber, noting its strong board of directors who are "who are solid business and community folks," membership that is at an all-time high, strong financial position, and firmly established connections throughout the village.
"I'm proud to say that this community effort continues to grow and I expect more of the same in future years," Schwartz said. "Additionally, the chamber has donated to numerous causes and other groups in our community over the years as well."
For example, the chamber began a scholarship program with the Whitnall School District in 2010, starting with one student grant each year. The program has since grown, and in 2017 four students will receive a grant from the chamber.
The chamber has also been financially helpful in sponsoring the Hales Corners Night Out event in August of every year.
"His accomplishments were many here. He did a lot of good things," said Hales Corners Village President Bob Ruesch, village liaison to the chamber, adding that both Schwartz and his energy will be missed.