Brattleboro Area Chamber of Commerce Executive Direc­tor Jerry Goldberg stands on Main Street in Brattleboro. (Zachary P. Stephens/Reformer)
Brattleboro Area Chamber of Commerce Executive Direc­tor Jerry Goldberg stands on Main Street in Brattleboro. (Zachary P. Stephens/Reformer)
Wednesday January 30, 2013

BRATTLEBORO -- Brattleboro Area Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Jerry Goldberg has announced that he will leave his job leading the chamber at the end of this year.

Chamber President Stephanie Huestis announced Goldberg's retirement at the chamber's annual meeting Tuesday morning at the Brattleboro Retreat.

Goldberg, 74, will have worked at the chamber for seven years when he leaves at the end of 2013 and he said professionally and personally it is time for him to move on and try something new.

"I would not trade one minute of the past six years. I could not have written it any more perfectly," Goldberg said during an interview in his office Tuesday. "Now it is time for me to move on, and let someone else try this."

At the meeting Tuesday Huestis said the chamber board of directors has not yet discussed how it would go about hiring a new director. She said she expects a committee will be named and the chamber might hire a professional employment consultant to help lead the search.

Huestis said the chamber hopes to have someone in place in the fall to work with Goldberg for a time before he leaves.

Goldberg came upon his job almost by chance after deciding to move on from the job he was working at the time at School for International Training.

Prior to moving to New England, Goldberg spent about 24 years at CBS working in marketing and promotion.

When he accepted an early retirement package at the age of 55 Goldberg and his partner moved to Massachusetts and then in 1996 to a small town in the southeastern corner of Vermont.

As a teenager Goldberg worked at a camp outside of Wilmington and he said he always held out the hope that he would one day return to the state.

He got a job at SIT, and after nine years when he decided it was time to move on, a friend told him about an opening for the director's position at the chamber.

Goldberg did not even know that the town had a chamber of commerce, nor did he know what an executive director at a chamber of commerce in a small New England town did.

The day before his interview Goldberg did a crash course on chambers of commerce and during his interview he made the pitch for the chamber to take a chance on the retired television executive from New York.

Goldberg was hired and he has been selling all things Brattleboro ever since.

After spending the previous three decades or so working in New York and in Los Angeles, Goldberg said his time working at the chamber has taught him about what it takes to run a small business.

But he also said he has learned about community and about the collaborative work that goes on behind the scenes with the town, businesses and non-profit groups to make Brattleboro the community that it is.

"It is very gratifying to see what happens when people band together," he said. "In a small town you get to see firsthand how wonderful people can be with each other, and what that does to make a community work."

With his 75th birthday approaching, Goldberg said he has been thinking about making some changes in his life, but he wants to go out with a bang.

The chamber will hold an event upon his retirement to raise money for the chamber's marketing campaign and for chamber scholarships and Project Feed the Thousands.

Goldberg said he wants to start a private business consultant agency to continue working with business owners in the region.

"I've had a very long and interesting career," he said. "A year or so ago I made a pact with myself that 75 would be a good time to make a change. I'm not ready to completely stop yet."

Howard Weiss-Tisman can be reached at 802-254-2311, ext. 279, or hwtisman@reformer.com. You can follow him on Twitter @HowardReformer.