REED CITY -- Reed City Chamber of Commerce Executive Director, Chris Ems, has stepped down as of Aug. 1.

Chamber President Katie Vincent said in a post on the city's website, "Chris has proven to be a valuable resource for the Chamber both before and throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. The Chamber board would like to offer our sincere thanks to Chris for being a shining light in the darkness, and a strong pillar of the community during this time as the Reed City Chamber Executive Director."

Vincent said Ems decided to step back from the position due to juggling career and family obligations outside of his role as Chamber director.

Ems said in an email that he is continuing to work with the chamber until a new director is found.

He had no further comment at this time, he said.

Ems was appointed as director in February, after the sudden resignation of former director, Kim O'Neil, who had held the position for a little less than two years.

O'Neil said at the time of her resignation that the challenges with funding a full-time executive director position was a key reason for her departure.

"With the resolution of the Reed City Downtown Development Authority, which was a major source of funding for the Chamber, the budget was tightened substantially," she said.

After O'Neil's departure, the Chamber was restructured, and the director position became a part-time position.

When appointed, Ems said the chamber planned to become more involved in the community through the organization of additional community events, and the chamber's mission would be to help business, industry and tourism prosper in order to stimulate economic growth.

However, with the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, and the subsequent shutdown of the state, the chamber has had few opportunities to host community events, which promote the city and bring dollars into the community.

The Chamber's Board of Directors will be actively looking for a replacement director, Vincent said.

Anyone interested in submitting a resume and cover letter may call (231) 388-4132, or email Vincent.2003@hotmail.com.