Brian Owen was named the new general manager of the Seaside Civic and Convention Center last Thursday.
Owen is CEO of the Seaside Chamber of Commerce, a role he has had since 2016.
“I’m really excited to have the opportunity to continue a legacy within a building that has established such an economic impact on our community,” Owen said after the announcement. “This is truly an honor and something that I don’t take lightly. This is going to be a career move that will keep me in Seaside for the rest of my working life.”
The general manager oversees a staff of 10 full-time employees and is charged with managing the facility while also serving on the 10-member management team for the city.
Russ Vandenberg, who has led the facility since 2005, will work through July.
“Brian brings a unique set of experiences and ideas to the position,” City Manager Mark Winstanley said in a statement. “He’s an individual that is well connected in our community and has a strong passion for Seaside. We believe he’ll be a good fit for the facility, the center’s staff, and our client base.”
Prior to his work at the Seaside chamber, Owen was the business development specialist for First American Title & Escrow. A longtime volunteer and board member, Owen was honored as McMinnville Area Chamber of Commerce volunteer of the year in 2005 and named chairman of the McMinnville area board in 2007.
Owen, Tony Camarillo, executive director of the RP Funding Center in Lakeland, Florida, and Mac McGoldrick, senior director of master planning and development for the Drala Mountain Center in the Colorado Rockies, were chosen as finalists from a pool of 12 applicants.
Camarillo and McGoldrick joined Owen at the convention center for interviews with local business leaders and convention staff before a community gathering last week.
As chamber of commerce CEO, Owen has distinguished himself helping businesses navigate through the pandemic, expanding local outreach and events and working with the city’s hospitality industry.
“Working with the chamber of commerce has really given me a lot of opportunity to expand the economic development of our area,” Owen said at the community gathering. “The chamber has been a fantastic tool for me to really work on my leadership skills.”
Owen said he plans to help create a vision for the next 10 to 15 years.
“When will the next expansion be possible?” he asked. “What will be the next ‘whatever’ we choose?”
Owen will receive a salary of $92,584 a year. He begins his new position in late June or early July, working together with Vandenberg until his retirement date.