Sheryl Heather, the owner of in Hampton Bays, took the helm of the Southampton Business Alliance during the advocacy group’s Friday night Holiday Party at the Inn at Quogue.
Longtime Executive Director Ann LaWall stepped down after serving for 20 years, but will remain on the organization’s board of directors, she said in a brief interview Saturday. Her official new position will be executive vice president, according to a press release from the business alliance. LaWall owns Ann LaWall & Co., a expediting and consulting business in Southampton.
“I wanted to step down because I wanted to have time for myself,” LaWall said, adding that she hopes to travel more in her retirement.
Selecting Heather as her successor helped LaWall feel comfortable about relinquishing her longtime role, according the business council press release. As soon as Heather joined the alliance’s board of directors, LaWall identified her as someone always on the ball.
“She doesn’t accept a role she doesn’t play a big part in,” LaWall said. “She’s talented and when I saw her on the board, I said ‘I can retire.’”
A call placed to Heather’s Hampton Bays shop was not immediately returned. Heather is also a member of the Sustainable Southampton Green Advisory Committee.
The president of the Southampton Business Alliance, Rich Warren, also stepped down after nine years of service, and is replaced by Aram Terchunian. Warren will continue to serve on the board.
“It’s time to let some of the other board members take the reins,” Warren said. “It’s a good, healthy transition for the organization.”
Warren is the president of Southampton planning and environmental land use firm Inter-Science Research Associates and also holds the presidency of the board of trustees for the in Southampton Village. Terchunian, the former president of the Westhampton Beach School Board, is a coastal geologist at First Coastal Corporation in Westhampton Beach.
The group has more than 140 business and individual members.
LaWall counts the installation of a second eastbound lane on County Road 39 as one of her biggest accomplishments with the alliance. She, along with Warren and the late Edwin “Buzz” Schwenk, started lobbying for the lane in 1999, and kept fighting for it for seven years.
“We never let go until we got where we were going,” LaWall said.
LaWall and Warren also count the formation of a subsidiary of the alliance, the Southampton Business Alliance Housing Initiative Corporation, as an achievement. The non-profit corporation has built two workforce housing units in Sagaponack — already occupied by four families — and has another nearing the end of the construction phase in Hampton Bays, Warren said.