BY CHRIS FAULKNOR AND BENJAMIN J. GOHS
After a little over eight years as the Boyne Area Chamber of Commerce Executive Director, Jim Baumann has officially retired.
Baumann got a sendoff on Friday Nov. 4 at the Boyne City Tap Room where friends and local officials, chamber members and well-wishers gathered to say “goodbye” to what was the face of Boyne City for nearly a decade.
“Congratulations on your much deserved retirement,” said Charlevoix Area Humane Society Director, and former head of the Boyne chamber of commerce Scott MacKenzie. “You should be proud of your accomplishments at the Boyne area chamber. With your guidance, you have helped to continue to make the Boyne area a great place to live, play and do business—no easy task in helping to advocate for, and guide our business community in healthy sustainable growth while maintaining the integrity in what makes our community unique and special.”
He added, “The countless hours behind the scene, meetings galore, public events, festivals, local, state, and national networking all drawing attention, opportunities and business to the Boyne area are all part of your legacy. Your ability to manage and represent the Boyne area business interest, and at the same time collaborate with the city, Main Street, and the community at large was done professionally and with class.”
Baumann was hired in July of 2008 by the Boyne Area Chamber of Commerce. Prior to that, he was a magazine publisher in California, prior to which he worked for what was then the Charlevoix County Press, which eventually became the Boyne Citizen-Journal.
“He sure has loved working at the Boyne area chamber,” said Jim’s wife Jamie Baumann. “He was truly touched by all the well wishes he got in the past couple of weeks and at his party. We both love Boyne City!”
Local Pam Chipman said one of Baumann’s biggest strengths was his ability to see issues from both sides.
“He could deal with the pros and cons with different people,” she said. “He was just an A-OK guy. He could see both sides of the picture. I ran into him mostly with Mushroom Festival. But, then he had people from the city wanting different things. He was just good at blending people and making things work.”
Chipman added, “Plus, he had a pretty good sense of humor and a towering stature—pretty hard to talk back to that.”
Boyne City Gazette Publisher Chris Faulknor recalled his first professional encounter with Baumann.
“My first stop with the design for the new Boyne City Gazette was the Boyne Area Chamber of Commerce,” Faulknor said. “Jim might have thought I was nuts at first, but he encouraged me and gave me tips along the way. Over the years, Jim has been an excellent sounding board for ideas, and always willing to listen to the latest and greatest idea.”
He added, “I’ll miss his sense of humor, jokes before and after meetings, and his ability to see above-and-beyond the crowd.”
Baumann said the chamber board threw him a terrific farewell party last week.
“I can’t believe how many people came to say good luck and congratulations,” he said. “It was the perfect ending for my eight years here. I’ve loved every minute of it. It was the best job I’ve ever had.”
Baumann added, “The fun thing is that I still get to do a little bit of my old job. The most fun part of my job was doing the newsletter and website, and I get to keep doing that as a part-time job.”
Baumann said he and his wife are headed to Los Vegas to take care of his father-in-law and spend the winter there.
“We’re not sure if we’ll spend future winters there or not,” he said. “We’re not big gamblers or anything, but it’s a nice place to spend your wintertime.”
Baumann added, “We’ll be back in time for the Mushroom Festival at least.”