'The voice of the business community:' Jonathan Ochs to serve as 2016 chamber chairman

Savannah Vasquez
Jonathan Ochs, president of Trustmark Bank for Okaloosa and Walton Counties, is the 2016 Destin Area Chamber of Commerce Chairman.

Along with celebrating it’s 50th year in business the Destin Area Chamber of Commerce named a new chairman this year. Jonathan Ochs, president of Trustmark Bank for Okaloosa and Walton Counties, will be heading up the board this year and he has many new ideas up his sleeve.

“We represent the voice of the business community, but with that said we also want to encourage relationships with the city of Destin, the county, the TDC and EDC in order to accomplish local goals and put our best foot forward to make sure this place remains the best place to live, work and play,” he said.

One of the new initiatives that Ochs said he hopes to facilitate this year, is an opportunity for former members and businesspeople who have been longstanding figures in the community to re-connect with the chamber.

“I’m excited to work towards re-engaging area decision makers, executives and business owners,” he said. “I think there is a lot of value for both them and the chamber to have seasoned, successful people to speak for the community and also to have a forum where they can interact with other like minded individuals.”

Ochs said oftentimes members disengage for a season of life, but he hopes to rekindle that relationship and prove that it is better for both sides to remain connected.

“We want to encourage a continued engagement, a continued relationship,” he said. “We want to foster an attitude of teamwork. We also want to prioritize collaboration with other groups and other chambers to increase our collective effectiveness.”

Ochs’ own journey to the chamber began in 2001 when he moved to the area from his home state of California. He had just taken a job with Emerald Coast Bank, later acquired by Trustmark Bank, and said during that time he and his wife Stacey were newly married and freshly graduated from California Baptist University.

“I first got involved in the chamber as a member of the bank and attended breakfasts or lunches,” he said. “It wasn’t until about four or five years ago when I stepped forward to be a member of the board that I really learned what the chamber was all about.”

Born and raised in Riverside, Ca., Ochs said it was quite the change to move to this side of the country.

“I grew up in the Riverside area, and I thought that was a small town until I moved here,” he laughed.

The couple now lives in Miramar Beach. They have four children and are very active in their church, Redeemer 30A, and in the local community.

“Church is really important to us and central to our lives,” Ochs said. “I play guitar and sing. I’ve led worship in church for 17 years, since I was in college.”

In his free time, Ochs said he enjoys spending time with his family.

“I played college baseball, so I’ve done a few coaching stints here and there; we like to have fun,” he said. “We like to go to the movies, go boating and play sports.”