Ken Oplinger, who has led the Bellingham/Whatcom Chamber of Commerce & Industry for nearly 10 years and is currently a Blaine City Council member, is taking a similar chamber position in California.
Oplinger announced Tuesday, April 16, that he has accepted a position at the Santa Barbara Regional Chamber of Commerce. Oplinger plans to finish a variety of upcoming local chamber events, including several Ski to Sea-related events, with his last day on Wednesday, May 29.
In a phone interview Oplinger said he plans to resign from his Blaine City Council position at the next meeting Monday, April 22. Typically the Blaine City Council would accept applicants from his ward and fill the position until the next election. Oplinger's seat expires in 2015.
"It's a bittersweet decision for me; we've really come to think of Whatcom County as our home, but this is an outstanding opportunity for us," said Oplinger, referring to him and his wife, Diana, and daughter, Rachel.
As the chamber president since October 2003, Oplinger helped create several new events geared toward the business community, including the Annual Awards Banquet and the Spring Business Showcase.
Peter Cutbill of Whidbey Island Bank and the treasurer of the chamber board said the board will develop a transition plan in the next few weeks.
Oplinger plans to continue hosting KGMI-AMs weekly business program, The Whatcom Report, from 8-9 a.m. Sundays at 790 AM until he leaves for his new position. The chamber and the radio station are in discussions about the show's future.