Sobolik steps down
Don Sobolik, who has been the director of the Rugby Chamber of Commerce and Rugby Convention and Visitors Bureau for the past 11 years, has stepped down to make room for new blood.
“It’s time for some new blood,” said Sobolik. “Rugby needs a director who can get the community fired up and take it in a new direction.”
When Sobolik took the job in November of 1999, a businessman pulled him aside and said, “I give you five years.” Sobolik responded, “Why’s that?” The businessman replied, “That’s about as long as any of them last because of burnout.” Sobolik lasted 11 years and he doesn’t regret it.
“I got to meet people from all over the world, made friends with some of them and have kept in contact,” said Sobolik. That was the favorite part of his job.
In addition to meeting people, Sobolik had to maintain the inventory of maps, brochures, vacation booklets from numerous states in the U.S. and provinces in Canada, and souvenirs.
He, also, coordinated local events in the community as a member of the Rugby Chamber of Commerce, including: Farmers Appreciation Banquet, Farmers Market, Home and Garden Show, and The Northern Lights Shootout Tourney. Many others have worked on these projects, but he often coordinated the events.
Sobolik enjoyed organizing and overseeing Rugby’s hosting of the Good Sam Samboree this past summer. It is one of the projects he is most proud of.
“It went very well, he said. “The community really pulled together to welcome this group.”
He started his career as director after being elected to the Civic and Commerce Board. Sobolik saw a need at that time to have the C&C concentrate even more on keeping events local. Businesses that were Civic and Commerce members were not being given some of the opportunities to sponsor or work at local events. Sobolik wanted to see businesses who had paid their civic and commerce dues to be the first ones to get the chance to work with civic and commerce events. Next would be businesses in Rugby and surrounding areas.
As he got more involved in civic and commerce, Sobolik was asked to be interim director while the board looked for a director. After being self-employed for thirteen years, he wasn’t sure about having nine bosses (the board).
“The thing that kept me here was the people,” said Sobolik.
In asking him what change he has noted during his tenure as director, he said that there was a shift of businesses from downtown and development of businesses out by the highway south of town. In addition, he has observed a shift from retail businesses to more service-oriented businesses.
Sobolik would like to see more businesses join the Rugby Chamber of Commerce in the future.
“I am thankful the chamber got me involved in activies/organizations I might not have had an opportunity to work with otherwise,” he said.
Sobolik wasn’t looking for a different job, however, an opportunity came up and he decided to take it. He plans to be a teller at North Star Community Credit Union with the possibility of advancement in the future. His last day as director is Thursday, October 14. He will continue to help out when he can until a new director is hired.
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