Terry Moreman poses for the Reporter in 2000, near the middle of her tenure as Mercer Island Chamber of Commerce director. Matt Brashears/file photo

New direction for Mercer Island Chamber | Exec. Director Terry Moreman to retire

Terry Moreman, the executive director of the Mercer Island Chamber of Commerce, is retiring after almost 26 years on the job.

The chamber board has already selected a successor: Island native, UW graduate and businesswoman Laurie Givan. Chamber President Ralph Swanson announced the transition at the Feb. 2 luncheon.

“Terry has performed an immense service for Mercer Island businesses and residents,” Swanson told the Reporter. “Her commitment has helped the Mercer Island Chamber of Commerce become the respected organization that it is today, both locally and regionally.”

Givan said that Moreman is the “heart and soul” of the chamber, and that the chamber board and its members “respect, enjoy and trust her.” Moreman has formed “fantastic relationships” in the Island community, Givan said, on which the chamber can continue to build.

Moreman said that one of her proudest achievements was forming those relationships with so many community groups, from the Historical Society to the Sister City Association to the Farmers Market, while continuing a strong collaboration with the city of Mercer Island.

“I think, because we’re an Island, the feeling has always been that we have to take care of one another,” Moreman said. “The businesses are lucky to have the support of the community, and vice versa.”

Moreman is a 38-year Island resident. She started her career as a stewardess for Pan Am, then became a self-declared “career volunteer” with the Mercer Island Preschool Association, PTA, Community Fund, Schools Foundation and Boys and Girls Club board.

Since Moreman started as the chamber’s director in 1990, one of the main themes in Mercer Island has been the revitalization of Town Center. During Moreman’s tenure, the downtown community started to undergo a drastic shift, as strip malls made way for multi-story, mixed-use developments, bringing more residents and retail to the city.

Seeing an opportunity for business development and community engagement, Moreman helped start Mercer Island’s Art Uncorked event three years ago. Attendance at the event has grown over the years, with people coming not just from Mercer Island, but surrounding communities.

“We didn’t know what to expect the first year, and the success was really exciting because we had never tried anything like that before,” Moreman said.

More changes in the business community could be coming, as the impacts of light rail and the Interstate 90 changes remain to be seen. Moreman said that Island businesses are resilient and creative, but that it will take a team effort to support them as construction and traffic take their toll.

But some things will remain the same. 2016 was the 70th anniversary of the chamber’s founding and it continues to represent, support and advocate for the businesses of Mercer Island, large and small.

The chamber is the “front door to Mercer Island.” Its office serves as the official Visitor and Information Center for the city, and is home to the chamber art gallery, which features local artists. The office has city maps, relocation information and community and tourism information, but it provides much more.

“We build community,” Moreman wrote in her introduction to the chamber’s latest directory and community guide. “We are a catalyst — a common vehicle through which business and professional people work together for the common good of the community.”

As director, Moreman organized the chamber’s monthly luncheons, as well as other social and networking events such as ribbon cutting ceremonies, shop local events and holiday promotions, like Town Center trick-or-treating. Chamber members are continually impressed by the speakers she has scheduled for the meetings, from the Mariners president and local legislators, to winery owners and chocolate makers.

The chamber also sponsors a scholarship for Mercer Island High School DECA students, and selects the annual Business of the Year.

Moreman, a big sports fan, also works at Safeco Field’s Diamond Club, and said she plans to continue doing that after her retirement. Though she said she won’t be able to stay idle for long, she plans to leave the chamber in Givan’s hands at the end of the month.

According to a Chamber email, Moreman is going to take some time for herself, experience new adventures and weed on Wednesdays.

“What does one say after 26 years in a job that has been better — more fun, more surprising, more interesting and definitely longer-lasting than you could have expected?,” Moreman wrote. “I’m going to miss everyone and I know the Chamber will continue to grow and prosper with Laurie. Thanks for the memories.”

For more, see www.mercerislandchamberofcommerce.org.