The West Volusia Regional Chamber of Commerce has hired Shari Simmans as its new executive director.

Simmans previously was the vice president of the Alexandria Chamber of Commerce in Virginia, where she won a national award for her communication and marketing campaigns, according to a news release from the chamber. Simmans has nearly 20 years of experience in "building strategic partnerships at the chief executive level in the private/public sector and has proven expertise in effecting better management practices and organizational reforms in achieving more cost-effective programs."

She also has helped elected leaders and associations with outreach, development and media campaigns.

Simmans is the chamber's second executive director. The organization last had that position filled in 2011 when the West Volusia Business Connection and Deltona Chamber of Commerce merged to form the chamber as it is today.

Moving to Florida, where her parents live, was always the goal, Simmans said in a phone interview.

What she's seen in West Volusia so far is a spirit of camaraderie and a strong support network, factors that benefit the chamber and vice versa.

"This chamber has been led by a volunteer board and look what they have done," Simmans said. "They have just accomplished so much in building this chamber from scratch and getting it to the level where you have dedicated and committed members."

The chamber already has a strong foundation, she said, and she's looking to take them to the next level

Chamber President Kelly Moore said she's confident in the job Simmans will do given her record of success.

"Her creative thinking and ability to build strategic relationships with government agencies, local leaders and the business community make her an exciting addition to our organization," Moore said. "We anticipate new and exciting programs and services and continued growth of our member businesses under her leadership."

The community is invited to meet Simmans during the chamber's open house from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. on Feb. 20 at 132 Treemonte Drive, Orange City.