CUMBERLAND — With only 3 1/2 years under her belt as executive director of the Allegany County Chamber of Commerce, Barb Buehl has had to tackle a lot of issues quickly for local businesses, especially when it comes to technology.

Buehl implemented the chamber’s first e-mail system, played a role in winning the state award for the county tourism Web site and will help launch an improved chamber Web site in the next few weeks.

“Use of technology has helped us a lot,” she said.

Her commitment to involving chamber members in advanced technology also helped Buehl snag this year’s Executive of the Year award from the Maryland Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives.

The award, a first for Allegany County, was announced during a ceremony in Baltimore last week. Buehl was nominated by chamber president Richard Collins.

“Barb’s effective leadership has strengthened the Allegany County Chamber of Commerce’s role as an advocate and resource for the business community in Western Maryland,” said Bill Scarafia, past chairman of the MACCE, and a member of the judging panel.

“She is committed to meeting the needs of chamber members and making the region an even better place to live, work, visit and do business.”

The MACCE noted progress under her management as an expanded membership base, increased attendance at chamber events and participation with the tourism program, and generated budget surpluses.

Under Buehl’s leadership, the chamber has achieved its five-year capital campaign in its first year and initiated a Past President Luncheon to improve communications between past and current chamber leaders.

Buehl, who said her colleagues knew she had won before she did, confided she was not expecting to win this year’s award.

“I’ve really not been as active as I’d like to be in the state organization,” she said. “I thought maybe someone very active in the (MACCE) would win.”

The county’s tourism director, who recently told the county commissioners that hotel and motel receipts are up 20 percent, said promoting the county is the most publicized role she carries, but not the most important.

“The most important role is really to support all our businesses. Hotel, motels and restaurants are just a part of that,” she said. “When we’re all working together in the same direction and seeing the success that comes from that, that’s the most rewarding.”

Tai Shadrick can be reached at tshadrick@times-news.com.

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