New resident takes over Dayton chamber

Cathleen Allison/Nevada AppealSusan Skaggs is the new executive director of the Dayton Area Chamber of Commerce.

Cathleen Allison/Nevada AppealSusan Skaggs is the new executive director of the Dayton Area Chamber of Commerce.

Though she has only lived in Dayton for two months, Susan Skaggs is ready to let others know how great it is.

She moved here from New Mexico about two months ago, her only connection to Nevada being relatives who have lived in Las Vegas for 40 years.

But Skaggs, 43, said Northern Nevada was more to her liking, and when her husband, Michael, was appointed to run the Nevada Commission on Economic Development, Dayton was where they made their home.

"This is much more our lifestyle," she said. "We love it. We love the pace of the lifestyle, people are friendly and there are a lot of outdoor activities.

She'll have more opportunity to promote her new hometown now since she took over the job of executive director for the Dayton Area Chamber of Commerce on Sept. 2.

"It's an exciting position to be in," she said. "Dayton is a wonderful town and in a good position."

She said the couple chose Dayton as their home because it was a smaller and close-knit community, but still had growth potential.

"Dayton has its own unique identity and needs to promote its identity and history to attract more visitors and business and economic development," she said.

Skaggs has been working on what she calls a "plan to revamp and re-energize the chamber, but declined to elaborate on it until after it has been approved by the board.

She did say one day she would like to see Dayton become a destination point something akin to Virginia City, though on a smaller scale.

"We'd like to have the people who go to Virginia City decide they want to come down to Dayton for a day, too," she said.

She said she plans to join the Historical Society of Dayton Valley eventually.

She moved to Dayton from Albuquerque, N.M., where she lived for 10 years, working for a Catholic High School Foundation as a fundraiser, working with alumni and putting on special events.

She also worked for Furs Supermarket chain and created the company's first foundation, managing it and running all the fundraising activities.

Before moving to Albuquerque, home was Phoenix, Ariz., for 10 years, where she worked with the Greater Phoenix Economic Council on Economic Development.

The daughter of a military family, she graduated from Creighton University in Omaha, Neb., with a degree in international relations, and can speak German and a bit of French, Russian and Japanese.

Kevin Hogan, general manager of SlotWorld Daytona, president of the Dayton Area Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors, praised Skaggs as having a successful record of accomplishments with several nonprofit organizations.

"Her experience in fundraising, marketing and economic development makes her the ideal executive for the chamber," he said.

One of the first things Skaggs plans to do is offer e-mail blasts of Chamber news instead of a traditional newsletter, with folks wanting the paper version to get it, providing they call the chamber office.

That office is located in the Greater Nevada Credit Union building on Highway 50 East.

• Contact reporter Karen Woodmansee at kwoodmansee@nevadaappeal.com or call 881-7351.

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