Ken Oplinger, president of the Bellingham/Whatcom Chamber of Commerce and Industry, has announced that he will be leaving the organization next month to take over as president of the Santa Barbara Region Chamber of Commerce in Santa Barbara, California.
Oplinger has been the president of the Bellingham/Whatcom Chamber of Commerce and Industry since 2003.
The Blaine resident’s last day as chamber president will be May 29, allowing him the opportunity to see Ski to Sea events through and giving the chamber a six-week head start in finding someone to fill his position.
Oplinger, who is also a Blaine city councilmember, said that he will formally resign from his position during the regular meeting on April 22. Oplinger’s seat expires in 2015. “Leaving Blaine will be bittersweet,” Oplinger said. “We’ve lived here for the past 10 years and we’ve really enjoyed the community. Sometimes opportunity knocks and you have to answer.”
Oplinger plans to continue hosting KGMI-AM’s weekly business program, “The Whatcom Report,” on 790 AM from 8 to 9 a.m. on Sundays until he leaves for his new position.
Chamber director Peter Cutbill said, “We have a great staff to carry on the important work of the chamber as Ken moves to his new position. Our board will develop a transition plan in the next few weeks to make sure our programs and events go on as planned. We want to express our appreciation for all that Ken has done over these many years … he will bring great benefit to his new community.”
His wife, Diana Oplinger, directs the Blaine Boys & Girls Club and has made great strides in improving the quality of nutrition and programming at the after-school club.
She will be staying in Blaine through the summer to help the organization through its annual July fundraiser, then will join him in Santa Barbara.