Porirua cham­ber chief to move on

Kapi-Mana News - - NEWS - By KRIS DANDO

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.

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