New chamber director brings enthusiasm
Tricia Friddell, who started her career at the local NBC affiliate in Columbia while attending Mizzou and hosted a morning radio show in Virginia Beach, was recently named executive director of the Platte City Area Chamber of Commerce, a non-profit organization that is widely regarded as an essential resource for promoting local businesses.
In her new post, Friddell will lead the chamber’s efforts to strengthen the community by hosting events in support of business owners and fostering a strong business sector which in turn builds prosperity.
Officials say Platte City Mayor Tony Paolillo, the Platte City Board of Aldermen, and city staff are looking forward to working with Tricia in her new role as chamber executive director.
On Thursday, DJ Gehrt, city administrator, sent Friddell praise, commenting that Tricia is building on a strong existing relationship.
“She is already off to a fast start, taking the initiative to meet with the mayor and aldermen on the city’s economic development committee at its January meeting. The city has been fortunate to have a great working relationship with the chamber of commerce and I am sure that having Tricia on board will continue to improve that partnership,” Gehrt stated.
“She has a lot of energy, knows the area and has unmatched communication skills from her past experience in commercial radio and non-profit event organization,” Gehrt remarked.
Friddell replaces Stephanie McKinley, who began as an assistant director before serving as an executive director for a period of less than 12-months. Lisa Dubreuil, the assistant director, resigned in tandem with McKinley in late November.
Amber Sanchez has been hired as the chamber’s new assistant director.
“She is going to be a fabulous addition to our chamber,” said Friddell. “I truly believe the two of us, along with our superstar volunteers and ambassadors, will show the Platte City area how lucky we are to live here.”
Friddell grew up in Lathrop and earned a bachelor’s degree in radio/television communications at the University of Missouri. In her previous role as a morning radio host, Friddell hosted concerts, performed live broadcasts on location, interviewed celebrities, and hosted a television show. She has also worked as a director of marketing and client experience at The Opus Group, where she worked with her husband, Jim Friddell.
“In my time there, we were able to streamline a client process, and introduce a software to our clients that is both valuable in their financial journey and is tailored to their personal needs and goals,” said Friddell.
In the past year or so, the COVID-19 pandemic has greatly affected local businesses, prompting an increased need for responsiveness on the part of the chamber. Friddell will focus on supporting local businesses owners by promoting take-out menus, announcing new hours, and posting job openings.
“We will listen to their needs and take action or find them the help they need. Our community has been supportive during this COVID roller coaster, and I know it will continue to be as long as it takes,” said Friddell.
At one time the chamber had 250 members, but officials say membership numbers have been negatively impacted due to COVID. So, membership retention and growth will be a major focus this year, she said.
“I have this incredible confidence that we will see this chamber grow in size, strength and participation,” said Friddell. “We have a lot of catching up to do, but I want the chamber to be a place of resources for our members. If a Platte City resident has a question, I want to be able to point them in the right direction.”
Friddell said she has the drive to re-energize the chamber of commerce, starting with the upcoming annual Celebration of Business event. This year’s event will be held on Saturday, March 5 and will serve as an opportunity for members and business owners to connect with each other at a critical time at the chamber’s biggest fundraiser of the year.
“The chamber of commerce is about relationship building, it’s about working together for the betterment of our community,” said Friddell. “It’s amazing how far a check-in or a drop-by can take you – just knowing that someone is in your corner is huge.”
On Thursday, Friddell met with Platte City business owners during the chamber’s monthly membership luncheon. She says she is excited to partner with local business owners and serve as a valuable resource in this new capacity.
The Platte City Area Chamber of Commerce was established in 1972 to support local businesses. Since then, it has “seen countless new businesses start up and succeed with the support of our community,” said Friddell.
This coming September marks its 50th year of service and dedication to the community. Every year, the chamber facilitates a number of fundraisers and events, including the annual Chamber Golf Tournament, Fall Festival, Holiday Lighting, and Platte City Beer & Whiskey Festival.