The end of an era: Chamber President Jim Page leaves after 11 years

Looking around Jim Page’s office, there are 37 family photographs. That makes it easy to tell where his heart is. And soon, Jim, his wife and their two daughters are moving home.

The Chamber of Commerce of West Alabama has been recognized nationally as the best Chamber in the country. You can attribute that to the great people who work there.

But like most successful ventures, great leadership played a key role, too. Jim Page led the chamber for 11 years as president and CEO. This was his last week, but if you walked into his office at any point, you’d never know it.

“To take a really exciting career opportunity that also gets us close to family after 11 years is just a really, really special blessing,” Page said. “Rarely do timing and opportunity always meet and, in this situation, they’ve come together perfectly.”

Page and his wife are from North Alabama, and both have family there. When an opportunity for Page to work with Martin Federal Consulting came up, he couldn’t pass it up. The firm works with several government agencies, including NASA.

Page started work with the Chamber of Commerce of West Alabama on Jan. 1, 2012. At that time, Tuscaloosa was still in major recovery mode after 15% of the city was wiped out on April 27, 2011. No one would have predicted that eight years later, we’d face a pandemic. But during all these hard times, Page learned what the people of Tuscaloosa and West Alabama are all about.

“I’m proud of what this community did together,” Page said. “We’ve done some major big-ticket things over the last few years. I think we managed the pandemic about as well as any community could. I can look back 11 years later with nothing but gratitude.”

He and the Chamber were an integral part of rebuilding after the tornado, keeping local businesses afloat during the COVID-19 pandemic and boosting commerce and employment in nine West Alabama counties.

Two years ago, the chamber was named Chamber of The Year. Page credits his great staff for that.

“I give him the credit of that happening and being able to be true is that he has built something here within the staff and that’s confidence in their work and their ability to do the job and get the job done,” said Alicia Gregory, who’s worked with him for five years, starting out as his executive secretary.

Page said we must remember Tuscaloosa and West Alabama are in competition with other cities, states and even other countries.

“For this community to be competitive with everyone else, they can’t compete with each other and with ourselves,” he said. “There are going to be times when different governments and different stakeholder groups are not on the same page, but at the end of the day we’re all playing for the same team here.”

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