GRAEME Foster is the new president of the Ararat Regional Business Association following its election at the recent annual general meeting.
Mr Foster replaces out-going president Andrew Burger, who has been a long serving committee member of ARBA.
Mr Foster said his predecessor had help make a significant impact in the Ararat business community, particularly during the past 12 months with the advent of the ARBA website, Facebook page and mentoring panel.
"I'd like to congratulate and thank Andrew for his leadership and commitment that he has given to ARBA for the past five years he has been on the committee, three of which has been as president," he said.
"He has had some great initiatives that have been put in place and partnerships that he has formed, particularly with John Watson and the Ararat Rural City Business and Economic Department."
Mr Foster, who runs and owns Foster's Mensland, brings many years of business experience into the new role and has just finished a 10 year tenure on the board of the East Grampians Health Service.
He said continuing ARBA's strong partnership with council is one of the main goals he has in his new role as president.
"I think that the relationship with council is a great way to share ideas, concerns and opportunities that might come up," he said.
"The Business and Economic Development Department have been running the business breakfasts and they have been a fantastic opportunity to network and even educate yourself in a lot of areas. I'd love to see that continue and I am sure it will.
"Overall things are looking pretty good. Our membership is stable and we really want to represent the whole business community within the Rural City of Ararat.
"We have a vibrant committee in place and it has been quite consistent for a number of years. They are all committed to the future prosperity to the region."
For many years ARBA has represented a membership of more than 100 businesses covering many divisions in the municipality.
Mr Foster believes Ararat currently has a vibrant business sector and said ARBA is welcoming of everyone who wasn't to get involve - it is not just for the retail groups.
"Moving forward I'd like to encourage involvement from the whole business community," he said.
"I think we have an exciting time ahead. There is potentially some really large investment in our community if projects like the wind farms get going and there are other things in the pipeline.
"Those benefits don't just go to the business sector, they flow right through the community.
"I'm looking forward to a productive year."