Cleckler settling in as chamber executive
by Bill Kimber
Jan 10, 2014 | 1827 views |  0 comments | 30 30 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Bill Kimber/The Daily Home
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Robert “Bubba” Cleckler Jr. takes a break from sorting through boxes of documents Friday at the Childersburg Chamber of Commerce. He became the chamber’s executive director with the start of the new year.
Bill Kimber/The Daily Home

Robert “Bubba” Cleckler Jr. takes a break from sorting through boxes of documents Friday at the Childersburg Chamber of Commerce. He became the chamber’s executive director with the start of the new year.
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CHILDERSBURG - Bubba Cleckler laughs a lot.

“If I had any hair I’d probably be pulling it out now,” the new executive director of the Childersburg Chamber of Commerce said with a big laugh Friday.

He’s sorting through boxes of documents and memorabilia from a storage room at the chamber, figuring out what goes and how to organize what stays.

And he ticks off a busy schedule of activities on the chamber calendar: An executive committee meeting, a board meeting, a monthly coffee and a reception honoring the former chamber director, just this Monday and Tuesday. A leadership group touring educational facilities in the city on Thursday.Then there are nominations for the Childersburg Hall of Fame, the annual banquet, and Coosafest hard on the heels of that.

The chamber’s Board of Directors last month selected Cleckler to succeed Pete Storey, who left the position after almost eight years to serve as a district representative for a company that provides golf tournament promotions including hole-in-one insurance.

Cleckler was chairman of the chamber’s Board of Directors. When he was hired as executive director, former vice chairman Tammy Freeman was elevated to board chairman. Cleckler said the board will likely name a new vice chairman soon, but will not necessarily appoint another board member.

He said he’s been well-received in his first week and a half on the job.

“Everybody’s tickled to death. They have high hopes and I do, too. Hopefully we’ll get something done,” he said with his signature laugh. “It’s been a long time since I was behind a desk.”

Cleckler said he was 9 years old when his father, a banker in Columbiana, moved the family to Childersburg in 1949 to start a bank right as a massive paper mill was preparing to begin operations at Coosa Pines on the city’s outskirts.

“I came up through the bank. I spent 37 years in the bank and in Childersburg, and retired from the bank in 1997.”

His post-retirement career has included stints as a pawn shop co-owner, a bartender at Mulligan’s, a personal financial advisor, and a clerk in the pro shop at Coosa Pines Golf Club.

“I’ve just been knocking around,” he said, adding that his community volunteer work included helping in the chamber office one day a week.

This month’s Chamber of Commerce coffee will be hosted by the chamber itself, at the chamber office on Tuesday, Jan. 14, at 8:30 a.m., and the chamber will honor Storey that evening from 5 to 7, with a reception at Friends on 8th. The public is invited to both of those events.

Meanwhile, Cleckler said the public is also invited and encouraged to nominate friends, neighbors and others who have contributed to the fabric of the city for the Childersburg Hall of Fame.

Nomination forms are available now, and will be accepted through Thursday, Jan. 30, at 3 p.m. at the chamber office. Nomination forms may be picked up at the office, or to receive one by email, call 256-378-5482 or email chamber@childersburg.com. A $10 nomination fee defrays the cost of postage and other costs associated with the nomination process.

The nomination requires a biographical sketch of 100 words or fewer about the nominee, who must be a current or former resident of Childersburg, living or deceased, who is determined to have contributed significantly to the residents of Childersburg.

Cleckler lamented that the turn-around time on nominations this year is faster than in previous years, due in part to a late start caused by the change in leadership.

This year’s honoree will be inducted to the Childersburg Hall of Fame during the chamber’s annual banquet, planned for Thursday, Feb. 27, at the Margie Sanford Center at Central Alabama Community College.

Coosafest is planned for March 15, and a golf tournament is targeted for June.

Contact Bill Kimber at bkimber@dailyhome.com.