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Derreberry made a difference

During his seven-year tenure as president and chief executive officer of the Wichita Metro Chamber of Commerce, Bryan Derreberry had to navigate both the economy's sharp ups and downs and the community's competing political and business priorities. As he leaves town next month to take a similar job in Charleston, S.C., Derreberry will be remembered for guiding the community to a public-private approach to business recruitment, in the form of the Greater Wichita Economic Development Coalition, and to take stock of its assets and pursue its dreams via the Visioneering Wichita process. He brought a welcome enthusiasm and energy to the task, as well as a sincere belief in the community's competitive potential. As Wichita fights its way out of this downturn, it will need a strong, focused chamber. So it's hardly the best time for it to be searching for a chief executive. But Derreberry leaves it in good shape, and in the capable interim hands of vice president Suzie Ahlstrand.