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St. Lawrence County Chamber of Commerce has new director

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CANTON — Brooke E. Rouse will take over June 2 as executive director of the St. Lawrence County Chamber of Commerce.

She succeeds Patricia L. McKeown, who is retiring May 22.

Mrs. Rouse, Canton, who has been a business advisor with the Small Business Development Center at SUNY Canton for more than two years, was chosen from a field of 30 applicants, chamber board President Ryan P. Deuel said.

“We wanted someone with vision, with ideas who could carry on what Pat has done and take it and shape it into her own,” he said. “We need new and innovative ideas in St. Lawrence County.”

Mrs. Rouse said her interests and background led her to apply for the job.

“My passion and experience with working with small business and owning a bed-and-breakfast and my graduate work in tourism and hospitality management seemed like a good fit,” she said. “It just really nicely combines my interest in economic development with tourism.”

Mrs. Rouse operates 24 E. Main St. Bed & Breakfast in Canton with her husband, Charles F. Rouse.

A 2006 graduate of St. Lawrence University, Mrs. Rouse worked from 2007 to 2009 as the assistant director of student activities and leadership education at the school. She was an intern with the Canton town and village economic development office.

She received her master’s degree in 2010 from the University of the West Indies.

She has served as the events coordinator for the Remington Arts Festival and was appointed in December to a one-year term on the village Board of Trustees.

Mrs. Rouse declined to offer specifics on her ideas for the chamber pending more discussions with the board and other staff members. She said she will look at the benefits of the chamber’s programs and return on investment.

Ms. McKeown has been with the chamber since 2007, when she began as the interim director when Karen M. St. Hilaire left to become the county administrator. Six months later, Ms. McKeown was chosen as the permanent director.

“I’m going to take a break for awhile, see some sunrises,” Ms. McKeown said.

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