Allan Asaph’s first days as executive director of the Abbotsford Chamber of Commerce will be occupied with the same issue as incoming Abbotsford Mayor Bruce Banman: the Mayor’s Task Force on Economic Prosperity.
It’s an initiative that Asaph heartily endorses, and it was the chamber that first proposed the task force to the city. Banman announced the task force on Thursday at an Abbotsford Chamber of Commerce luncheon.
Asaph, who has been a chamber board member for four years, including a year as president, said there is an immediate need for the new group.
“The goal for this is job creation and economic stimulus,” he said.
The chamber will be a key player in the task force, which he said should help direct growth in the right areas, and attract new employers. He foresees the task force looking at the community’s assets – such as the airport, the university district, and 200 acres of serviced industrial land that will be coming into the market – and investigating how they can be used to attract investment.
“This is an attractive place to live and work,” he said. “People want to come to Abbotsford, and stay in Abbotsford.”
Asaph started at the chamber office on Dec. 1.
He said one of the key challenges for the chamber is working with city hall, “a new mayor and a re-charged council” to ensure the business community thrives.
Asaph has been manager of Sunlife Financial in Abbotsford, and has lived in the community for 16 years. Having started in Surrey, he celebrated his 25th anniversary with the company on Nov. 5, and a month later began his new job with the Abbotsford chamber. Prior to becoming a financial adviser, he worked for 15 years in the federal government, his last position being census district manager.
“I never want to stop learning,” he said. “This (position) is a way to take the experience I’ve got, and put it into something.”
Asaph is a Rotarian, and serves as the Assistant District Governor for the three Abbotsford and two Mission clubs.
He is married and has a teenage daughter. An avid runner, he is a past, “and hopefully future,” marathoner.
The chamber used an outside consultant for the hiring process that offered the position to Asaph.