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Fred Kurth, chairman of the board for the Greater Mission Chamber of Commerce announced this week that the board has officially hired Matt Ruszczak as the new president and CEO for the chamber.

"We're real excited to have him on board. We look forward to new chamber growth with Matt as our CEO," said Kurth.

Ruszczak succeeds Arlene Rivera who left the chamber in July.

Ruszczak, who has been assisting with various chamber projects for several weeks on a volunteer basis, brings both experience and education, which the board feels will serve him well as the chamber's chief executive.

Born in Poland and raised in Germany, he came to the United States as a foreign exchange student at the age of 17. After attending high school in Weslaco, he decided to stay in the U.S.

He graduated from the University of Texas-Pan American with a bachelor's degree in political science and with a masters in business administration.

His career experience includes working at the UTPA Small Business Development Center in Edinburg and at the McAllen Chamber of Commerce as vice president for business development and governmental affairs.

The new CEO said he wanted to come to work for the Mission Chamber because Mission is a vibrant, dynamic community with lots of opportunity to grow.

"What enticed me is being able to be a part of shaping that," he said. "When I was working at the Small Business Development Center as a business consultant, my job there was to assist people in starting their business or expanding the business that they had... It was about making dreams come true."

He said he would like to be able to continue doing that at the chamber on a larger scale – still helping small business owners make their dreams come true and provide a better life for their families.

One of his goals as CEO of the chamber will be to strengthen the relationship the chamber has with other community organizations and develop stronger partnerships. He is already encouraged by the warm reception he has received that this can be accomplished, he said.

"I am very excited about the amount of goodwill, help and support I am getting from the community at all levels. I feel like I am being very welcome with open arms. I don't think I've ever felt so appreciated, loved and welcomed in anything that I've done as I have through the welcome in the Mission community, and I am very, very appreciative," he said.

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