AVALON — Wayne Griffin, president and CEO of the Catalina Island Chamber of Commerce and Visitors Bureau has announced his decision to retire during the Chamber’s Board of Directors meeting.
After leading the chamber for 26 years, he will officially retire the CEO title on Nov. 30. Griffin leads a seven-member team and oversees marketing the City of Avalon and Catalina Island as a year-round island resort destination.
“It has been a true honor to serve the chamber for the past 26 years,” Griffin shared. “Working together with great team members and hundreds of volunteer leaders over the years, the chamber has made a significant contribution to Avalon’s economy and our island lifestyle.
“I am very proud to have played a role in that contribution,” he added.
Griffin started his career with the Catalina Island Chamber in January 1988, the same month the first cruise ship arrived in Catalina. Over the years, cruise ship visitation has increased 36 percent.
During his tenure, chamber membership has also increased by 85 percent to 250 members. The chamber’s marketing budget to promote the island has increased 341 percent, mainly due Griffin’s efforts to create a partnership with the City of Avalon that allocates 22 percent of Transient Occupancy Taxes to marketing by the chamber.
The City of Avalon ordinance allocating the marketing funds was approved by Avalon voters in 2000.
During 1998 and 1999, Griffin and chamber volunteer leaders worked with the City of Avalon to find a solution to Catalina Island Medical Center’s annual deficit. Griffin and then City Manager Rob Clark led the effort to seek voter approval of a ½ percent increase in the local sales tax to erase the Medical Center’s operating loss and keep the facility open. The ballot measure passed in 2000 by an 86 percent margin.
During his professional career, Griffin earned the Accredited Chamber Executive designation (ACE.) from the Western Association of Chamber Executives (WACE) in 1995 and was reaccredited in 2000, 2005 and 2010. He is one of 47 chamber executives in 18 western states who has earned this professional designation.
He served as WACE’s Chairman of the Board in 2008 and is a recipient of WACE’s Russell E. Pettit Excellence in Leadership Award. He is also the co-founding Chair of WACE’s Academy, a professional development program for chamber executives and staff.