By Ed Martin, Editor
Lemoore Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Jenny MacMurdo will leave Lemoore for a similar post in Carmel.
Lemoore Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Jenny MacMurdo will leave Lemoore for a similar post in Carmel.

Lemoore’s Chamber of Commerce executive director will be leaving soon for greener pastures – or should we say – whiter sand? Jenny MacMurdo, the chamber’s executive director for the past three years, has accepted the executive director’s job at the Carmel Chamber of Commerce.

MacMurdo’s final day with the local chamber will be June 15, and then she’s off to historic and scenic Carmel-by-the-Sea, the home of Pebble Beach, white sandy beaches, 17-Mile Drive, and seafood pulled right from the sea.

The Illinois native arrived in Lemoore in 2013 and hired on as the chamber’s events’ coordinator. It didn’t hurt that her brother, Lt. Cmdr. Josh MacMurdo happened to be stationed here. MacMurdo came to the chamber highly qualified, having earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Southern Illinois University.

In August 2014, MacMurdo moved into the executive director’s job.

“I wasn’t looking to leave,” she said. “It just was one of those things that you can’t pass up. I’d probably kick myself if I didn’t try.”

She tried, and she got the job at a thriving Carmel chamber that boasts over 800 members, including most of the local hotels and restaurants in the Monterey and Carmel area.

She’s proud of the work she’s done here the past three years. “I feel like we’ve done really great work here the last three years,” she said. “We’re definitely on the right track.”

Lemoore’s Bill Parry, the current chairman, couldn’t agree more. "Jenny has been a positive force not only for the chamber and its members, but for all of Lemoore,” he said. “During her four-year tenure as CEO, the chamber has seen heretofore unprecedented growth and revitalization.  We will miss her, and wish her well." 

One of the highlights of her tenure was working with small businesses. “I think the biggest challenge probably is getting our small business members to take advantage of what we can offer,” said MacMurdo.  “I know that sounds crazy, but we have so much to offer them … and a lot of the time they’re so busy just trying to make ends meet that they don’t think about calling us. We try to reach out to them, but a lot of times they just don’t utilize us like they could.”

In 2016, the chamber’s membership went up 17 percent, and this year it’s up again. “That’s huge. Our membership continues to do really well. Even this year we’re up.  I think it feels like the business community can trust us and that we’re here for them, and that we’re advocating for them.”

MacMurdo is particularly proud of the Young Entrepreneurs’ Academy, a year-long program that teaches middle and high school students how to start and run their own businesses. The program, started in 2015 in Lemoore, was developed at the University of Rochester in 2004 with the support of a grant from the Kauffman Foundation.

“That’s really a big deal,” said MacMurdo. “I feel that it’s really our shining gold egg right now, because it takes all the tenets of the core pillars of our organization, and it puts them all into actual focus. These kids actually start businesses.”