HARKER HEIGHTS — Members of the Harker Heights Chamber of Commerce bid a happy retirement to president Bill Kozlik at a ceremony Thursday night.
“Bill has meant a lot to Harker Heights and to this chamber for a long time,” chamber board chairman Larry Linder told a room of more than 100 people.
The chamber was in trouble before Kozlik’s 15 years as president started, said Mike Miller, a former chamber board chairman.
It was on the verge of closing or merging with Killeen’s operation, he said.
But under Kozlik’s reign, the chamber’s membership and activities flourished.
“Within three years ... Bill Kozlik had developed 600 members,” Miller said.
Membership was about 150 establishments before Kozlik’s start, he said.
Kozlik’s success comes from his passion for the chamber, its mission and people.
“He loves his job,” Miller said. “He loves people. He loves the community. He wanted this chamber to be the best chamber, a family friendly chamber.”
The growth of the chamber is not Kozlik’s only accomplishment.
Kozlik built an “amazing relationship with Fort Hood,” said Cheryl Dewine, a chamber board member.
Other accomplishments include starting a wine festival and holding successful golf tournament fundraisers.
At the ceremony, Kozlik received several commendations and gifts from friends and chamber members, including being named an Honorary Texan by Gov. Rick Perry. Kozlik was born in New York.
For many like Jennifer McCann, Kozlik was a gift to them.
“Bill is like my adopted father,” McCann said. “Whether it is ice or snow, people were going to show up and fill this room, because he deserves that.”
Kozlik, who will officially retire Friday, said it was the people who kept him going.
“You people are all the very important in me,” he said. “The commitment isn’t from Bill Kozlik, it is from all my friends.”
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