A Carthage native and veteran of the Carthage business community has been tabbed for the top job at the Carthage Chamber of Commerce.
Mark Elliff, 55, Carthage, was chosen by a committee of community leaders and city officials to take the dual job of Carthage Chamber president and Carthage Economic Development Director.
“This really is kind of a dream come true, and I’m not just saying that,” Elliff said on Tuesday after Chamber Board President Pat Goff made the announcement. “I’ve lived in Carthage pretty much all my life except for five years in central Missouri where I managed a bank for UMB Bank. I grew up in Carthage, I’ve worked here almost all my life and to have the position of economic development director and Chamber president in your hometown is exciting.”
Goff said Elliff stood out among the 20 or more candidates the committee interviewed.
“It’s nice to have someone known to the community,” Goff said. “We interviewed people from Arkansas, Iowa, Kansas and Missouri and had good competition for the job. Mark is well known to the community, he’s served on the Chamber board and as chairman of the board and has extensive experience in economic development.”
Goff said Elliff will take over no later than April 4.
Elliff replaces Sabrina Drackert, who worked as Chamber President for three years before resigning in February to take care of her newborn son, who was born with spina bifida.
Elliff said his 11 years at Hometown Bank and more than 20 years at UMB Bank were spent doing much the same job as he will be doing as Chamber president and Carthage Economic Development Director.
“Economic development is the same thing I was doing in banking, except it’s called business development,” Elliff said. “You have a company that needs to expand and grow or have a working line of credit, and you need to know how that company is organized and what its needs are and help meet those needs. That’s the same thing as what I’d be doing here, what are the needs of the Carthage business community and how do we get those needs met? I’ll also be working to attract new business.”
Elliff said the city needs a strategic plan for economic development that includes a set of economic development goals and how to work toward those goals.
He said the fact that he grew up in Carthage and worked in Carthage almost all his working life means he can hit the ground running on his new job.
“What Sabrina did was set up and construct a good framework,” Elliff said. “We have two very capable people in that office that can handle the day to day tasks so I can focus on economic and business development.”
Since September 2011, Mark Elliff has worked as director of donor relations for Life of Hope ministries, a Joplin-based ministry that “exists to rescue the children of Latin America,” according to the group’s mission statement on its website www.lifeofhope.org.
Before that he worked for Hometown Bank for 11 years and UMB Bank for more than two decades.
Elliff is a 1975 graduate of Carthage High School and 1979 graduate of Missouri Southern State University.
Mark and his wife, Vicki have a daughter, Jennifer, 27. Their son, Jonathan, died of cancer six years ago.
He’s an elder in the First Christian Church in Carthage.