Last month, the Board of Directors of the Amador Chamber of Commerce met to discuss an unforeseen opening. The CEO, Jamie Barger, who had been in the post for four years, announced that she was leaving to work for the chief administrative officer in Calaveras County.
As the Chamber Board discussed replacements, one name kept coming up as a replacement: Joey Guidi. The Board decided to offer the 23-year-old Guidi the CEO position on a 90-day interim basis starting on March 1. Last week, I had an opportunity to talk with Guidi about his background and his plans for the Chamber.
Throughout the interview, Guidi’s energy and enthusiasm exuded from the screen during our interview via Zoom. That energy explains how he’s able to have a busy life that includes working at a radio station, substitute teaching, baseball coaching, and now serving as the interim Chamber CEO.
Guidi said that though he was born in Folsom, his family moved to Jackson when he was a baby. He noted that he is a fourth-generation Amador County resident on his mother’s side because her family migrated here from Italy. Guidi attended Jackson Elementary School, Jackson Junior High School, and then graduated from Argonaut High School in 2015.
After high school, Guidi attended the University of the Pacific and graduated with a degree in communication with an emphasis on radio broadcasting. This isn’t a surprise considering that his father Jim operates KVGC, the local radio station. Joey Guidi works for KVGC as its director of digital marketing and media.
In addition to his work at KVGC, Guidi also works as a substitute teacher in the Amador Unified School District teaching all grades from kindergarten through 12th grade. If that wasn’t enough, he recently became the junior varsity baseball coach at Argonaut High.
All this activity doesn’t come as a surprise because Guidi has always been active. “I was somebody who did everything,” he said. “I was captain of the football team and first chair trombone player.” In college, he became a member of the Pi Kappa Alpha international fraternity. Before he returned to Amador County, he traveled to 43 different schools in the southeastern U.S. as an international business development consultant.
Guidi said that though he’s been very busy in just six years since he graduated from Argonaut High, he always planned to return to Amador County, which he did last year. “I just love this community so much and it’s always been about trying to find a way to give back,” he said.
He added that becoming the interim CEO of the Amador County Chamber was one of the best ways to give back, but it wasn’t planned. In late February, Guidi said, “I got a phone call one morning saying, ‘Hey, Jamie Barger just got a job with Calaveras County and we’re looking to fill the CEO position,’ and they wanted to know if I was interested. So, of course, I said yes, naturally. One thing led to another and here I am.”
Guidi added that he thought the Board picked him for a couple of important reasons. “It really helped to be from Amador County and know what’s here, know the people, and know the culture.” What’s more, he said, “I’m pretty young, so I think I bring a different flavor and vibrance.” He added with a laugh, “It’s not too often that you find a 23-year-old CEO of a Chamber of Commerce.”
Guidi was quick to praise his predecessor and recognize her help in making his job easier. “Jamie brought so much to the table and did so much leg work for me that at this point I think I just need to round everybody up and move forward,” he said. “Jamie left us in a really good spot, and now it’s just picking it up from there.”
Here to Serve
Now that Guidi is settling into the CEO chair, he’s starting to focus on serving Chamber members and the community. “I’m really a get it done kind of guy,” he said and noted that his corporate and small business experience helps him understand his members. “I want businesses to know that I understand where they’re coming from. I totally understand the hurt that everyone faced this past year. I want them to know that they have my support and that I’m there for them.”
For now, that includes serving Chamber members and businesses, especially with PPE. “We have all the PPE that any business needs,” Guidi said. “As soon as anybody needs any of that PPE, you’re more than welcome to call me up.”
He added that he wants to be available to Chamber members and non-members alike, and invited businesses to call or e-mail him. But, as Guidi is still working at the radio station and substitute teaching, he said his schedule is a bit fluid. “I’m here in the office for the most part from about 9:00 a.m. to about 3:00 p.m.,” he said, “but it’s rolling right now because I’m still trying to figure out my schedule.”
“Of course, for members, there’s obviously more that we offer, but for non-members, I’d love to talk with them about getting them on. We are much stronger when we are unified, and when we band together, great things happen.”
Guidi said that he’s not doing this alone and praised the Chamber Board: “I’ve got a whole team helping me.” And he says that with the Board’s help, he wants to get Amador County’s name out. “I want Amador County to not just be one of the premier spots in northern California,” he said. “I want people to travel here from other states and countries. I want Amador County to boom and prosper.”
To do that, Guidi said he wants businesses to know that they can contact him with any ideas they have. “I’m more than open to listening to suggestions and working with them. I’ll try my damnedest to get everything done to their satisfaction.”
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