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The Board of Directors of the Austin Area Chamber of Commerce announce a transition in leadership, this December. Elaine Hansen will take over as Chamber Executive Director, effective January 1, replacing Sandy Forstner, who announced his retirement after serving the Chamber for over 18 years.

 Hansen, a long-time Austin resident and non-profit leader, will join Chamber staff, December 10. She will work with Forstner and other staff members during a 3-week transitionary period. Forstner’s last day with the Chamber will be December 31.

 “The Chamber is excited to have Hansen join our organization,” noted 2018 Chamber Board President William Budion. “We look forward to her leadership as we continue to move our Chamber forward and enhance our service to the business community. We have a solid foundation in place and a great team of staff members that will continue with us through this transition.”

 Hansen was selected from a field of 30 applicants for the position. A resident of Austin since 1994, she has served a variety of non-profit organizations throughout her career. She was Member Services Manager for chambers in Illinois and later Austin during the 1990s. She moved on to serve the Mower County Chapter of the American Red Cross as their Executive Director for 20 years. She also worked for Austin Public Schools before assuming her most recent position as Senior Development Coordinator for Gerard Academy.

“Austin is a marvelous community and my home,” stated Hansen. “I am thrilled to have the opportunity to work with the Chamber board, staff and members to help grow Austin.” She added that she looked forward to meeting with community businesses and leaders in her new role.

“I want to congratulate Elaine on her appointment and the Chamber Board on their selection,” Forstner added. “The Chamber will be in good hands under her leadership. We have great staff and they will be a huge asset to her as she moves forward. I want to thank all our members for the privilege of serving this organization for so many years. It has been an honor.”

A Retirement Party is planned for Sandy on Friday, January 4, 2019, from 4-7:00 p.m., at the Austin Country Club.  There will be a short program beginning at 5:30 p.m.  We hope you can join us as we wish Sandy well in his next journey.


The Board of Directors sets the direction of Chamber work and our priorities. We had a great year in 2017 attaining these goals. 
Click here to view report.    


The Board of Directors of the Austin Area Chamber of Commerce voted to continue a popular advertising rebate program for all members, promoting shop local messages, in the 2018 budget.  All members are eligible to receive rebates of 10% (up to $500) for including Buy Mower or We Are Austin messages in print, broadcast and digital advertising.  Promotional items and direct mail advertising also qualify.  Prior approval is required.  Contact Sandy, at the Chamber, 507-437-4561, for further details.