Ausband, whose background is in insurance, insurance advisory and financial planning, first became a member of the chamber in the 1980s.
“I was actually on the chamber board back in the late ‘80s,” he said. “I was on the board for a two-year period of time and rolled off the board.”
Shortly after then was when Ausband tried his hand at working in the insurance field and found success.
But working in that field took him away from the Henry County hub, as he worked in Fayetteville.
It wasn’t until five years ago when Ausband was appointed to the board once again, with officer roles such as treasurer and vice president, that he became fully reacquainted with the organization.
According to him, the strength of the chamber is in its members and one of his primary goals is both recruiting and maintaining the membership base.
“We want to focus on our membership,” he said.
“We are a member-driven organization. We are there to support our members and without our members, we wouldn’t have an organization.”
Membership levels have fluctuated in the past few years, especially in light of the economic downturn, Ausband said, but despite that, he is pleased with the amount of members.
“Just like the economy has suffered over the past few years, the chamber has felt that to some degree as well,” he said. “We have managed to maintain a good base.”
At the peak, according to Ausband, the chamber had about 800 members. Currently, the chamber has 700.
Another effort that has Ausband’s full attention is the E2 initiative — the Economics and Education Initiative.
“At the ground level of all economic development is education,” said Ausband.
With recent developments such as the Academy for Advanced Studies, a charter school that received the OK to be located on Henry County High’s campus, and the groundbreaking for Southern Crescent Technical College, education seems to be a central focus throughout the county.
“It’s a bigger picture thing,” Ausband said. “Southern Crescent will be able to provide invaluable training for people coming out of high school who choose not to get a traditional four year degree from a university.”
The training that future students will receive from Southern Crescent, however, will have a domino effect, said Ausband.
“The skills acquired by these students will only enhance the delivery that our local businesses can provide by hiring them,” he said.
Ausband is up to the challenge of being chairman of the chamber.
“I’m certainly honored to have the opportunity,” he said.