BY BOB ALLEN
Pat Winter recalls that when she was first approached to head the Eastern Baltimore Area Chamber of Commerce in 1972, the job paid ``a whopping $100 a month."
Winter, who says she was able to take the job because she was ``between children at the time," remembers that back then her duties consisted mostly of sending out postcards and scheduling monthly meetings. ``Back then, we had no office, just my home phone. We had maybe 30 members. Today we have over 500."
Winter, a Dundalk native who graduated from Johns Hopkins Evening School with a liberal arts degree in 1965, says that the roots of her community involvement go back to the late '60s and early '70s when she was active in the now-defunct Dundalk Chamber of Commerce.
``During the 1970s, the heyday of the East Side was coming to a slow halt," she recalls. ``The infrastructure was deteriorating and real revitalization needed to be undertaken."
By 1976 the Eastern Baltimore Area Chamber had grown to the point where Winter's directorship became a full-time position.
She prides herself on the strides that have been made in years since, both by the chamber and by the areas of Eastern Baltimore County and East Baltimore it represents.
``The economic studies that we have done of the Eastern Baltimore area have resulted in significant public sector investments in our region," says Winter, who has done post-graduate studies in economic development at the Universities of Delaware and New Hampshire, Goucher College and Dundalk Community College. ``They have affected how state and local governments look at our communities and decide what has to be done."
Winter also points to her chamber's other major accomplishments during her lengthy tenure. Each year the organization co-hosts three job fairs and holds monthly networking and informational seminars and conferences. The Eastern area chamber also publishes two monthly publications for its membership: The Key and The Business Intelligent Report.
Winter has also overseen the development of independent revenue streams at the chamber.
These include the publication of a pair of business directories that are sold to and utilized by companies that use the Port of Baltimore (much of which is actually in Baltimore County) in their operations.
``Having the kind of impact on the county's economic development that our chamber has has been very rewarding for me," adds Winter, who is also the volunteer chair of Friends of Todd's Inheritance, a community group dedicated to restoring a noted historic property in Edgemere.