SB Chamber Hires New Chief After Almost Year with Interim Leader

Ken Oplinger from Bellingham, Wash., has been hired as the permanent replacement for Steve Cushman who abruptly left his 24-year job as president and CEO of the Santa Barbara Region Chamber of Commerce almost a year ago.

Zoe Taylor, former Ventura chamber chief, has guided the Santa Barbara chamber on an interim basis since June of last year. Prior to Cushman’s departure, the chamber vice president and marketing chief departed.

Oplinger comes on board just as chamber membership director Scott Ericson has begun to bring in new members. Since 2007, the chamber has lost several hundred members. Since Ericson and Taylor came on board, dozens of new or returning chamber members have been paying dues.

Taylor will work with Oplinger as he transitions into his new post as head of the oldest South Coast business organization of its kind, which was founded in 1899.

Cushman still has a weekly radio program in Santa Barbara.

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