SKOWHEGAN — Cory King, the longtime executive director of the Skowhegan Area Chamber of Commerce, is stepping down this month to take a similar job in Brunswick.

King, 37, who took over the Skowhegan job almost 10 years ago, will work his last day as chamber chief on Friday, May 27. He will become the new executive director of the Southern Midcoast Maine Chamber of Commerce.

In an interview Monday, King said it will be hard leaving a town that has come so far in the past decade.

“It’s so hard. This is very difficult for me,” he said from the chamber office on Commercial Street. “It’s real hard to leave something that you helped build. That’s why I’m really working hard to get this transition plan and this new team in place to handle this, because I didn’t work for a decade to see it fall apart after I leave.

“The other good thing is I’m still in the chamber family.”

King, who lives in Augusta, recently got married and his wife works in Freeport. Working in Brunswick will make it easier for the couple as they transition from renting an apartment to owning a home close to both of their jobs, he said.

Plus, King said, the salary in Brunswick is $15,000 more than the $32,000 he is paid in Skowhegan.

Dan Plante, president of the five-member chamber board of directors, said an interim director will be appointed as the board looks for a new executive director.

“Obviously, we’re sorry to see Cory go, but we understand why he would be doing that,” Plante said by phone Monday. “He’s been with us a lot of years. He’s been doing a good job for us and we hate to see him go, but at the same time this opportunity he has is going to advance him in that world.”

Plante said the full board will make the final choice on a new director, but hesitated to put a time line on the search. He said King, to assist in the search, has offered a couple of names that will be taken into consideration.

King took over as chamber director in 2007 from Michelle Tuttle, who was retiring. Katie Ouellette took over as interim director for a short time before Tuttle came on board, replacing Janiece Holmes who had been director for seven or eight years, King said.

King said the executive director handles the day-to-day operations of the chamber with its membership of about 225 businesses in the greater Skowhegan/Madison area. The chamber represents its membership at all regional meetings of such groups as the Tourism Council, Main Street Skowhegan, Kennebec Valley Community Action Program, Kennebec Valley Council of Governments, Somerset Public health and other organizations.

The Skowhegan Chamber operates on an annual budget of about $75,000, which is paid for with member dues, fundraisers and with money raised by voters at the Skowhegan annual Town Meeting. Fundraising events include Moonlight Madness at Riverfest, the annul FAB Fair and haunted hay rides in the fall.

“We work creating fundraising events that both bring people to the region, but also help the different organizations, and we keep our business members apprised on what’s happening legislatively and advocate on their behalf,” King said.

King said he was active in opposition to the proposed hike in the minimum wage in Maine from the current $7.50 per hour to $12 per hour by the year 2020, which also would eliminate the tip credit for restaurant servers by 2023. The proposal will go to referendum this November.

King said his group supported a raise in the minimum wage of $10 per hour by 2020.

Doug Harlow — 612-2367

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Twitter:@Doug_Harlow