LaCates brings energy to Vermillion Chamber

LaCates brings energy to Vermillion Chamber Jill LaCates is the new Vermillion Area Chamber of Commerce executive director. She began her duties June 1. by M. Jill Karolevitz She�s only been here since June 1, but Jill LaCates already loves Vermillion.

Named as the new Vermillion Area Chamber of Commerce executive director, LaCates believes Vermillion has a lot to offer.

�It�s so much more than just the home of The University of South Dakota,� she said. �You have the Shrine to Music Museum, the heritage of Lewis and Clark, a good school system, the new bridge coming � this town has a lot to offer. And it�s a pretty town. People take pride in Vermillion. It�s a great community.�

LaCates already has ideas as she begins her new duties. She views Vermillion�s proximity to the Missouri River as a recreational opportunity to draw visitors.

�I see potential in promoting ourselves as a tourism center,� she said. �If people come here for recreational purposes, they�ll also stay in our motels, eat in our restaurants, shop in our stores and buy their gas here. That�s the niche I see for Vermillion.

�This is a town that has a lot of big-town features, with a small-town attitude,� LaCates continued. �Vermillion is very active � not necessarily with chamber activities, but there is always something going on. It�s great to see that kind of energy.�

LaCates defines a chamber of commerce as the red carpet for visitors � a place that says �Hello and welcome. We�re glad you�re here.� A chamber is also a resource for businesses to pool their strengths to promote the community�s positive aspects, she said. In that light, LaCates already has a goal for Vermillion.

�We need to put together a marketing plan for this community,� she said. �We need to promote its opportunities for visitors and for the people who live here.�

LaCates� enthusiasm was part of the reason she was hired, according to Jenny French, one of the Chamber of Commerce Search Committee members.

�She brought great ideas to the interview and I was impressed with her energetic personality,� French said.

LaCates also brings seven years of chamber experience with her. She was program manager for the Sheldon, IA, Community Development Corporation, where both chamber and economic development work was combined.

�Basically what I did was all chamber work,� she said. �But I was ready to take my career to the next level. When I heard the Vermillion position was open, I thought it was a great opportunity for advancement.�

A Conde native, LaCates attended college at Northern State University in Aberdeen for business. She has three daughters, MeagAnn, 9, Molly, 7, and Melanie, 3. The family will move to Vermillion later this summer.

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