New SML chamber executive director

Christopher Finley

Christopher Finley has been appointed the new executive director of the Smith Mountain Lake Regional Chamber of Commerce. He assumes the role after Vicki Gardner resigned in July after nearly 17 years.

“We are thrilled to have Chris join the chamber team,” said Lindsey Coley, chair of the SMLRCC Board of Directors. “His marketing and public relations expertise, leadership experience and comprehensive knowledge of the Smith Mountain Lake region makes him a perfect fit.”

Finley served as communications manager for BAE Systems, an international defense, aerospace and security company based in Radford. Prior to that position, Finley directed marketing programs for The Willard Companies for 11 years.

“I’m very excited about returning to Smith Mountain Lake and for the opportunity to drive tourism and grow business for the chamber’s members and the community,” said Finley, who served on the chamber board for two years. “I look forward to supporting the mission of strengthening the social and economic environment of the community.”

Finley has served as president of the local Public Relations Society of America chapter, on the Marketing and Communication Council for Virginia’s Blue Ridge and as PR chairman for the Roanoke Regional Home Builders Association. He’s currently a director for the Radford Chamber of Commerce.

Finley earned a bachelor’s degree in communication from Lees-McRae College and a master’s degree in corporate and professional communication from Radford University.

Coley said Finley will assume the executive director position at the chamber in late October.