The Coast News Group

Chamber of Commerce CEO set to retire after 18 years

OCEANSIDE — Oceanside Chamber of Commerce President and CEO David Nydegger announced he will be retiring after 18 years of service. Currently there is no set date for his last day, but Nydegger expects it to be before the end of the year.

Nydegger first announced his retirement plans at the chamber’s annual planning conference with all board members present.

News was also shared at recent chamber committee meetings and a chamber awards ceremony.

Nydegger said he will step away from the hiring process for a new CEO, and allow the search committee and board members to decide on the direction the chamber wishes to go.

During his years as Oceanside Chamber CEO, 71-year-old Nydegger said he has seen a lot of positive changes and growth in the city.

His own career path led him from serving in the U.S. Navy, to being the publisher of the Sun Post News in San Clemente, to serving as the San Clemente Chamber of Commerce CEO, and then Oceanside Chamber CEO. He has lived in the same Oceanside home for 27 years, through most of his varied occupations.

When he came on board in 1997 Oceanside’s economy was on an upswing.

“Redevelopment was still going strong, there was a lot of energy downtown, the Regal Cinemas had just opened on what had been a vacant lot for decades,” Nydegger said. “It was a miraculous eight to 10 years.”

The city also weathered through the recession and a drop in tourism.

In recent years it has regained its momentum with new development. Nydegger said the downtown Wyndham Oceanside Pier Resort and Springhill Suites hotels have been game changers. The soon-to-be-developed beachfront resort will be an added boon to the economy.

Nydegger said a city milestone was securing the franchise for the California Welcome Center, which houses Visit Oceanside. The landmark freeway signs for the tourist center quickly tripled the number of visitors who stop in, and get to know Oceanside.

Businesswise, Nydegger said he sees the city growing through its world-leading biotech companies.

Looking back at his years of service as CEO, Nydegger said he “tried to do what was best, and get along with everyone.” He added he credits his success to hiring really good people.

His future hope is that Oceanside will make smart redevelopment choices as it continues to grow.

“We have to make sure we plan smart growth, and take a long look at Coast Highway and make it into a showcase,” Nydegger said.

As for his own plans, after 18 years as Oceanside Chamber CEO, two years as San Clemente CEO, 17 years in the newspaper business, and 13 years serving in the U.S. Navy he is ready to enjoy time with family and friends, travel, garden and boat.