New chamber head ready to become involved in city

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, May 2, 2000

Sandy Forstner isn’t used to being interviewed – he’s used to controlling the interviews.

Tuesday, May 02, 2000

Sandy Forstner isn’t used to being interviewed – he’s used to controlling the interviews.

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Forstner, the new executive director of the Austin Area Chamber of Commerce, comes with a 23-year background in newspapers.

"I think this is a natural transformation," Forstner said. "The skills apply. Now I work with a board, rather than independently, but it’s very similar."

Forstner was the owner of the Stewartville Star from 1984 until last year. While there, he became involved with the Stewartville Chamber of Commerce, leading to two terms as president of the chamber there.

"You get involved with the chamber when you’re in newspaper by necessity," Forstner said. "But it’s a great way to meet people."

"The reward of Chamber of Commerce work is interaction with your fellow civic and business leaders," Forstner said. "It’s fun, and it’s rewarding. The chamber here is different from the one in Stewartville – it’s larger and can have more activities, and I’m really looking forward to the challenge of getting involved here."

He also called Austin a "friendly town," and said once his younger son finishes high school in the spring, he and his wife will be looking at possibly relocating to Austin from Stewartville.

His wife Pam works at the Stewartville chamber part time as the secretary and recorder. They have two sons, Cory, 26, and Jay, who is a senior in high school.

Forstner said he doesn’t have any specific plans for the Austin chamber yet.

"Right now I’m interested in the chamber in general," he said. "I’m a native of Austin, so I am somewhat, though distantly now, familiar with the community."

He plans to tackle the job of getting to know the community in general, and chamber members specifically, in the days to come.