By CRAIG FREILICH
CANTON – St. Lawrence County Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Pat McKeown will be retiring this year.
“I’ve done about all I can do for the chamber, and it’s been the most fun job ever,” she said from her Canton office.
The 75-year-old will not be idle, as the former editor of the Massena Observer and news director at North Country Public Radio turns her attention to writing and compiling her newspaper columns into book; to the consulting business she co-owns with county administrator Karen St. Hilaire; to sitting in a rocking chair reading on the porch of her recently renovated house outside of Massena; and to her four grandchildren around the country.
Other jobs she has held include a stint as Gov. Mario Cuomo’s Department of State North Country Regional Representative and as the workforce coordinator for St. Lawrence-Lewis BOCES.
“I retired in 2004, and again in 2006, and I was happy,” she said, before she took the county chamber job.
“I’ve been serving as ‘interim’ for seven years, so it’s time to go. It’s time for me to step aside and make room for another vibrant person to keep the chamber moving forward.”
During her tenure, “the chamber has grown from a business organization into the county’s cheerleading squad.”
That cheerleading has led to developments such FISHCAP, a campaign promoting the county as “the fishing capital of the world,” and the hosting last year of a prestigious and well-attended Bassmasters fishing tournament, among other achievements. “The chamber is a powerful force in the county,” McKeown said.
Her last day on the job will be May 23. In the meantime she will be helping a search committee find her replacement.