COLUMBIANA - When the Brinker family moved to Columbiana in 2008 they did so with the intention that it would only be temporary. Now, April Brinker is promoting the city she and her family fell in love with four years ago.
Brinker was chosen to fill the Columbiana Area Chamber of Commerce executive director position that was held by Ginny Perkins the last five years. Perkins opted to start her own business and Brinker was hired to replace her on July 10.
She and her family moved to the city from Warren, Pa., and had only planned to stay 18 months initially. Her husband works for the federal prison in Elkton and her son attends Joshua Dixon Elementary.
"What really stood out to us was just the feel of the community; the activities that go on, (like) the parades, street fair and activities at the school. We moved from a rural area so it was nice to come into a place that had a lot of things going on but still kept that family feel to it," she said.
Prior to being hired with the chamber Brinker worked part-time for PNC Bank in the city. Before that, she held an office management position with a gas company for eight years. She was chosen for the chamber position following an interview with the hiring committee and approval from the board of directors.
Over the last month Brinker has taken on the executive director responsibilities, which consists of keeping track of membership and bringing on board new members by reaching out to the many Columbiana businesses. She will also handle the financial aspect of the chamber and is required to attend committee meetings in addition to organizing meetings.
Brinker said she works closely with Tourism Bureau secretary Crystal Boggs and that the bureau is working toward becoming its own non-profit entity.
"They are growing rapidly," Brinker said.
Boggs said Brinker's hiring has been "the best thing that has happened to the chamber outside of Ginny Perkins. April's first week there she just dove right into her job and took to it like she was a natural for it."