New chamber promotions coordinator looks forward to meeting people

Argen Duncan

The new Roosevelt County Chamber of Commerce promotions coordinator and Portales MainStreet director says she loves meeting people and hopes to give others fond memories like those she has of community events.

Sandy Van Der Veen started work June 1.

“So far it’s been really fun,” she said.

Although she works at the chamber, more than half of Van Der Veen’s responsibilities involve MainStreet.

“I don’t think I’m getting a whole lot less because I think Sandy’s going to be very sharp and very efficient,” said chamber Executive Director Karl Terry. “She’s already showing that.”

Van Der Veen will manage and work to grow the use of the Yam Theatre, handle and promote existing events and come up with new events, Terry said.

Already, Van Der Veen has mapped out Heritage Days vendor booths and been given charge of the event’s old-fashioned children’s games.

MainStreet President Danny Woodward said Van Der Veen hit the ground running with Heritage Days and would start MainStreet work after the event. He expects Van Der Veen to receive training both from the local board and the state MainStreet organization.

Woodward said Portales MainStreet members were excited about Van Der Veen’s volunteer experience with events and bachelor’s in Hotel, Restaurant and Tourism Management from New Mexico State University. References also said she had a good work ethic.

“We’re excited that she picked Portales to live,” Woodward said. “Very fortunate.”

Van Der Veen said she was interested in the job because her fiance Zach Vigil’s family lives in Portales and they could help the couple get on their feet and care for their infant daughter, Adison.

Van Der Veen is most looking forward to the people.

“I really do like meeting people, as cliche as that sounds,” she said.

Also, Van Der Veen said being part of community events has given her some of her fondest memories. She hopes to give such memories to others.

In planning events, Van Der Veen’s philosophy is simple: Organization.

Van Der Veen said her family forced her to start volunteering with community events at age 6, when they moved to Artesia.

“I did a lot of volunteer work growing up, and that’s why I like doing events,” Van Der Veen said. “I hated it at the time, but love it now.”

As an adult, Van Der Veen also volunteered with the Artesia Chamber of Commerce and MainStreet program, as well as helping with events at the NMSU Alumni Office.

Terry said he saw in interviewing Van Der Veen that she had good interpersonal skills.

“That’s what it takes,” he said. “She’s going to be working with a lot of people.”

Van Der Veen’s school and work background as well as her personality made her Terry’s top pick for the position, he said.