By Martha Micahel
For Fred Arnold, stepping aside does not mean standing at the sidelines.
“Don’t be a spectator, be a participant,” said Arnold. “My attitude is ‘serve to the best of your ability.’”
And serve is what Arnold did, as chairman of the SCV Chamber for a year. He has passed the gavel to incoming chairman, Jim Backer, from JSB Development, and continues as a member of the Chamber board of directors.
“As chairman you get a pulse of what’s going on in the community,” said Arnold. “It required me to be very involved and required me to be an active participant.”
This team member came to play, and one of his roles was to lead the Chamber in affecting change on many levels. “One of the great things is that there’s a City Council Review meeting the Friday before the city council meetings, and you give input to the City about different proposals and contracts,” said Arnold. “And every piece of legislation, every major piece of legislation that will affect business, we usually look at and we take a position on and make sure it is good for business and good for the community.”
Having only served on the Chamber’s board for two years prior to becoming chairman, he continued to see things with new eyes
and develop an appreciation for them. “I was so touched by the school districts, the non-profits, there are so many activities these groups have…you’re able to see those working parts all work together.”
Arnold was not new to leadership, however. Last summer he finished a term as treasurer for the National Association of Mortgage Brokers.
“I was president of the California Association of Mortgage Brokers in ’08-’09, during its darkest days of the housing crisis, where I really learned a lot about leadership…how the different parts of a non-profit work, listening, how to be sympathetic and empathetic to so many good people who are hurting in the real estate business at this time,” said Arnold.
Ever the participant, Arnold’s service continues. He is the school board treasurer for Our Lady of Perpetual Help in Newhall. He serves on the College of the Canyons Foundation board, and he is on the advisory board for Habitat for Heroes.
He is a father of four – Alex, a student at California Lutheran University; Katie and Jack, students at West Ranch High School; and Amy at Oak Hills Elementary School in Valencia.
“I was born and raised for most of my childhood in Santa Clarita, through junior high,” said Arnold. “Then I returned after college, back to a community I loved so much.”
Arnold’s passion for the success of Santa Clarita drives his desire to continue offering input to the shape of commercial development.
“When a community is no longer growing, it’s dying, and we want to be a community that is always growing,” he said. “If the state keeps overregulating, the City Council has to be very sensitive to additional anti-business proposals and regulations. It’s critical that they look at that.”
As Arnold passed the gavel last weekend at the annual SCV Chamber Installation Ceremony, he shared praise with others in the community, even guests at his table, who he looked to for inspiration.
“Any success I had was a direct reflection of all the volunteers who don’t get recognition,” said Arnold. “Terri Crane and her team, the Chamber ambassadors – they are the operational soul of the organization.”