RANTOUL — Chris Kaler is leaving the Rantoul Area Chamber of Commerce to re-enter a field he worked in for 14 years.
Kaler will succeed Mike Boebinger as regional general manager for Frontier Communications, which provides telephone and high-speed Internet service to rural communities.
He will be in charge of 32 employees and be responsible for a region that includes about 106 towns with about 90,000 access lines in central Illinois.
Kaler, who had been executive director of the chamber for nearly four years, said his last day on the job will be Friday.
He said he was happy with his job with the chamber, which was a part-time position.
"I wasn't looking for anything," Kaler said. "I was really happy with what I was doing."
Kaler said the opportunity came up as he was speaking with a Frontier representative and asked if anyone had been selected to succeed Boebinger. Kaler was asked if he would be interested in the post.
Kaler had been in the telephone business, first with Eastern Illinois Telephone Co. and then Mid Continent, Alltel and finally GTE.
GTE was purchased by Verizon, which later entered a working agreement with Frontier.
Kaler left the telephone business in 1993 because of family concerns, when GTE wanted to transfer him out of the area. He later worked in finance and real estate.
As chamber director, Kaler has been actively involved in getting businesses — and residents — involved in Rantoul activities.
During his years as director, the chamber started the Firecracker Classic, a Fourth of July event held at the Rantoul National Aviation Center.
The chamber's board of directors issued a statement on Kaler's decision to resign, calling him "a wonderful asset to not only the Rantoul Area Chamber of Commerce, but also the Rantoul community."
The statement said, "We wish him the best on his new career path and look forward to him being a continued supportive member of our community."
The chamber board will begin scouting for applicants to help fill the vacancy.