Changes are happening within the Carbon County Chamber of Commerce.

They include the executive director leaving, and the chamber restructuring its operations.

David Althouse, chairman of the board of directors of the Carbon County Chamber of Commerce, said during a brief phone interview, that Executive Director Michael Heery, will be leaving the chamber on April 30.

In a press release prepared by the chamber, Althouse states that Heery is leaving "so that he may pursue other interests."

"Heery has led the Carbon County Chamber since its inception more than five years ago and during that time has seen it grow to more than 500 members," the press release says. "His most notable achievements include the promotion of local businesses through the annual business expo, the introduction of monthly breakfasts and mixers, the availability of health care programs to the membership, and helping to develop a united voice for Carbon County's business interests."

Althouse praised Heery's leadership skills during his time as executive director and noted that Heery will stay on board at the chamber until April 30 so that he can work with the executive committee to make sure the transition in leadership will occur smoothly.

Heery has served as the executive director and president of the Carbon County Chamber of Commerce since Sept. 6, 2005.

He is a lifelong resident of Carbon County, growing up in the Lehighton area.

In 2001, he was elected as the vice president of the Jim Thorpe Area Chamber of Commerce and served as president from 2002 to 2005.

During that time, he worked diligently with a group of men and women who had a vision to create a chamber to serve all of Carbon County.

Their vision became a reality in January 2005 when the Carbon County Chamber of Commerce officially began operations.

When calling the Carbon County Chamber of Commerce for Heery's comment, an unidentified chamber member said that Heery was unavailable and that there was no comment on this matter.

Althouse also noted that the chamber has decided to "restructure" the way it operates to be more efficient and to save money.

"We're restructuring to better serve our members and the community," Althouse said. "We're going to be making some changes in direction in some areas.

When asked about potential financial trouble, Althouse said that the chamber will be "OK financially."

Althouse said that the group is now holding meetings to determine what changes should be made.

"We have an active and very capable and professional board that will help," he said.

No further details on what changes will be made during the restructuring were released at this time.

The Carbon County Chamber of Commerce, based in Lehighton, is now an all-volunteer organization comprised of the Jim Thorpe, Lehighton, Palmerton, Panther Valley, Penn-Kidder and Weatherly chambers. The organization's goal is to promote the common economic interest of chamber members and improve the general economic and well being of Carbon County.