Athens Review, Athens, Texas

June 20, 2013

New President: ‘All roads lead to Athens’

Mark Rathe takes over as new top Chamber official

Kathi Nailling
The Athens Review

Athens — The search for a new Athens Chamber President is now officially over.  Chamber President Mark Rathe has made his way back to Texas, the place where his roots are.

Rathe took over duties as Athens Chamber President on June 3.  The Athens Chamber has been without a president since the departure of Sarah Hueber. Hueber left the chamber to accept a position at Blinn College in Brenham. Rathe, who has only been here a couple of weeks, said Athens is a beautiful town.

Rathe and his wife Alice have spent the last 13 years raising their family in Tulsa, Okla.  The couple, who has been married 24 years  and are both Texas natives, still have family members in the Lone Star State.

“We are considered that sandwich family, where you have parents that may need you, but you also have your own children striking out on their own,” Rathe said.

Rathe has two boys, Andrew and Tyler, who both attend the University of Oklahoma.  His wife Alice is a Librarian at an inner city school in Tulsa.

“Athens is a great location to be close to Alice's, as well as my family,” he said.

He already has a saying: “All roads lead to Athens.”  He says what he means is it's a great location.

“My mother-in-law is in Waco and my father is in Houston,” Rathe said. “I got to visit my father on Father's Day this year. It was great. It has been a long time since I saw my father on Father's Day.”

Rathe, a Stephen F. Austin University graduate, comes to Athens with nine years experience  with the State Chamber of Oklahoma. He explains the State Chamber of Commerce is similar to the Texas Association of Business in Texas. His main duties with the Oklahoma Chamber were business development and retention, lobbying and chamber community communications.

What does his sons think about his move to Texas?

“My sons are excited I have the opportunity to work with  a business-oriented chamber. They think it's great,” he said.

Athens Chamber Chairman, the Rev. Mark Allen said, “The committee was looking for someone  who could help the chamber and it's members move forward. Mark has the experience and skills to propel us forward and to make a greater economical impact in the community.”

Search Committee member Jennifer Rummel said, “The search committee liked the fact Mark had roots in Texas and a long history of chamber of commerce experience.” 

Rathe said he liked the fact the  Athens Chamber is invested in the business community and wants to see the community grow.

Rathe has been busy acclimating himself into the Athens community. Another new face will greet you at the Chamber, Becky Smith. She is the new Chamber Office Manager.