Porirua chamber chief to move on
Simon Calvert is leaving the building – and the country.
The Porirua Chamber of Commerce’s executive director has had two years in the job and reckoned he was nearing the end of his tenure.
But before he could jump, his wife, a lieutenant-colonel, got the nod to take up a United Nations posting in Tyre in Lebanon, so the decision was an easy one.
Mr Calvert finishes up in midJanuary and leaves for the Middle East with his two young sons in March.
‘‘It’s a huge posting for Helen and we’ll definitely be there at least a year.
‘‘I am intending to be a house dad but if the opportunity presents itself for work, I will take it. It’s really exciting and we’re painting it to the kids as an extended holiday.’’
He is happy with the state he leaves the chamber in – an advocate for businesses in Porirua which hosts training and social get-togethers.
He assisted with the branding transition of the chamber from ‘‘ Business Porirua’’ and membership has grown steadily.
‘‘There certainly were challenges at the start and there was that sense of trying to understand what a chamber was, what does it do? It’s been a hard slog to get where we are now, but we’re in a sound position for the future, we just need to keep connecting with the local market.’’
Not shy about criticising Porirua City Council over issues like rates and parking, he sees the priority in the short term being the upgrading of the CBD.
‘‘My belief is, if it can’t happen now, it never will. The key question is how does this new council, mayor and CEO drive it through? If council get the infrastructure right to allow investors and new businesses to come in, it will create jobs, reduce unemployment and create a hugely positive environment.’’
The chamber’s membership is now 275 and he hopes to see this climb over 500 in the future. But that is for the next director to drive.
Leaving Porirua: Porirua Chamber of Commerce executive director Simon Calvert will be adjusting to life in Lebanon come March, with travelling in Africa and Europe also planned.