By Madison Fisler Lewis
Dec. 8, 2014. On Nov. 17, Melynda Martin Pepple officially replaced Susan Freeman as the Executive Director of the Avery County Chamber of Commerce. Sue Freeman had headed the chamber of commerce since 2006, and has since moved with her husband, who accepted a new employment position in Tarboro.
“I feel confident that my Avery County heritage, education, past job-related experiences and strong community relationships will enable me to serve the public to the best of my ability.”
From a release:
Pepple brings to the Chamber a strong background in marketing, event planning and fundraising. She was recently the development officer and centennial event chair for Grandfather Home for Children in Banner Elk. Prior to her role at Grandfather Home, Pepple served as chief advancement officer, public relations director and volunteer coordinator at The Crossnore school in Crossnore. Pepple. who lives in Newland, is the daughter of Lou and the late Robert Martin of Plumtree. Her mother was born and reared in Plumtree and her grandfather, Frank Burleson, was co-owner of the C.W. Burleson Store. Her father was executive director of The Crossnore School in the seventies and her mother taught at Crossnore Elementary School. Pepple is married to Douglas Lee Pepple, who is from Virginia Beach and is employed at Hebron Colony Ministries. She has a son, Robert Preston Perrin, who is a senior at Appalachian State University majoring in theatre education. Pepple has four siblings: Bill, Susy, Cindy and Robert. Pepple graduated from Avery High School and UNC-Greensboro and holds a BS in health education.
Pepple was alerted to her new position the week of Nov. 10, she said.
“When I found out, I was just honored and very flattered that I was considered for this position,” Pepple said. “My first feeling really was that I was just very flattered and honored that they would think of me.”
In her first few weeks in her new position, Pepple has been adjusting and has already started planning and working on next year’s schedule with her staff.
“We have already booked our After Hours and quarterly breakfasts for next year,” Pepple said. “We have already met with our events committee, membership committee and we are already planning some new things for next summer with the help of our past director Sue Freeman. Sue was here last week and we were brainstorming together and really working to make this transition as easy as possible.”
Pepple hopes to build upon what the previous director had begun, and is excited and optimistic about the future.
“I feel very excited for the county,” Pepple said. Sue has done a tremendous job, plus the staff here who has worked with her as a team. I am just excited about where the county is going with membership and what we can do going forward as far as partnering together with other chambers in the area with the groundwork that has already been laid in such an excellent way. I think it can only get better from here, but they have done a tremendous job. Sue has done a wonderful job and I have a wonderful team in place.”