After eight years at the helm of the Renton Chamber of Commerce, Bill Taylor is ready to retire.
The last few months have been filled with real estate shopping, purchasing, packing and — most recently — moving. Now that the organization is settled in its new location at the former Spirit of Washington Depot, Taylor said he’s confident that the Chamber will do just fine without him.
Taylor announced his decision to retire earlier this month at a May 21 Chamber of Commerce Board meeting. His last day is Thursday, May 31.
While Taylor is shy to list his achievements, those around him can’t say enough, and they're quick to point out that the Chamber's recent move was nearly a decade in the making.
"Bill Taylor has done a tremendous job building partnerships and promoting the interests of Renton's business community,” said Renton Mayor Denis Law. “He has set an example of innovation and hard work thereby achieving tremendous growth and success for the Renton Chamber of Commerce. Because of his strong leadership, commitment and vision, we are ready to embrace a future of opportunity and prosperity in our city. We are very fortunate for his years of service and dedication and I wish him all the best.”
Former council member King Parker served on the selection committee that chose Taylor for the job eight years ago.
“He’s done a phenomenal job. He certainly brought the Chamber back in terms of credibility and making it financially sound,” King said while reflecting on Taylor’s accomplishments.
While King is no longer as active with the Chamber, his son Jason is the current Chairman of the Board of Directors.
“Bill was hired to right the ship, and that is exactly what he did,” Jason said.
“I’ve worked hand-in-hand with Bill over the last eight years,” he said of fundraising efforts at the Chamber. “Bill is a heck of a guy,” Jason said. “He’s been quite a mentor for me and it’s been a pleasure to work with him.”
Aside from strengthening the Chamber, he’s done a lot for Renton and for our business community, Jason added.
Renton’s economic development director, Suzanne Dale Estey described Taylor’s contributions in a similar way.
“Bill Taylor has been a tremendous ally and partner in serving and advocating for Renton's business community, and the community as a whole,” she said. “He is deeply committed to the critical partnerships in the community and willing to take a stand and do what was right for Renton, whether it was a policy issue, bold marketing efforts or fighting for a solid education system for our future workforce. His leadership, support and strong commitment to Renton will be missed.”
It’s common knowledge that Taylor’s forethought is the reason behind the Chamber’s success today.
“He understood the need to relocate the Chamber in the right place,” Jason said, adding that the purchase and move was possible because of the help of John Galluzzo and others.
Galluzzo served as Chairman of the Board during 2011 and oversaw the purchase of the Chamber’s new downtown location. A grand opening celebration is scheduled for June 15.
But the Chamber did not come up with the money overnight.
“Instead of spending excess funds, Bill was smart enough to save and manage that money,” Galluzzo said. “I don’t think I can overstate Bill’s value to the Chamber over the last eight years,” he said. “ He was able to grow the Chamber and put us back on financial footing, to save enough for a down payment, and to qualify for a mortgage loan.”
Taylor’s decision to retire is a huge loss for the Chamber.
“Bill came in and stabilized,” he said. “The next CEO is going to step into a nice seat, and hopefully they can take it to the next level.”
Now comes the next challenge: How to honor someone who is so consistently understated?
“The biggest problem we’ll have with Bill is trying to get him to show up to anything where he’s given credit,” Galluzzo said.