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New Chamber Chief Eyes Membership Boost, Deal with City

Daniel Escalzo is introduced to the City Council and promises a revitalized chamber and collaboration with City Hall.

When the board of the as its new executive director last month, they did so with a clear indication that the  he organized was going to be a success.

On the heels of that event, which chamber officials said recorded a 127 percent increase in net income over the 2011 edition and nearly 1,300 attendees, Escalzo was introduced to the Mill Valley City Council Monday night. 

Alan Abrams, the chair of the chamber’s board, did the honors.

“We’re excited about having Daniel formally join the chamber and we’re looking forward to having his leadership and energy take the chamber to new levels of service for our business community,” Abrams said.

Escalzo, who has lived in Mill Valley for 20 years, was born in Argentina and grew up in Los Angeles. He has spent much of his recent career as an events producer, organizing such high-profile Bay Area gatherings as the Green Festivals and Whole Life Expositions and Conferences. He also served as the executive director of the San Rafael-based Mojotown Project, which offers pro-bono marketing and multimedia services for local nonprofits.

Escalzo said he has two major priorities in the short term. The first is to build the chamber's membership base, which , during which time the organization was without someone at the helm after  and eventually let go by the chamber’s previous board in early 2011. The goal is to get above 400 this year, and the board has identified approximately 1,500 potential member businesses, according to vice chair Paula Reynolds.

Escalzo and the chamber board also hope to negotiate a professional services agreement with the city that will formalize its existing but informal arrangement and expand upon it. The parties are in the midst of discussing a deal that could include having the city pay the chamber for such services as being a de-facto visitor information bureau and producing community events like .

City Manager Jim McCann said the parties are in the midst of negotiations and that he expects to bring a deal to the council within the next two months.

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