Michael Ayers has served as president & CEO of the Melbourne Regional Chamber since January 2018. A strategic leader with experience in managing government agencies, political campaigns and community-based organizations, Ayers brings to the role nearly 20 years in government relations, management and political marketing in Washington, D.C., Illinois, Tallahassee and Brevard County.
From 2015 through 2017, Ayers served as the director of government relations for Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute at Lake Nona. In this capacity, he was responsible for generating funding for the institute’s biomedical research and maintaining a positive relationship between the institute and its government partners. Prior to his service at SBP, Ayers served as the chief of staff at three state agencies, the Agency for Persons with Disabilities, the Department of Economic Opportunity and the Agency for Workforce Innovation (AWI) as well as the legislative director at AWI. In this capacity, he directed the agency’s legislative and budgetary priorities during each session and coordinated communication between the agency, Governor’s Office of Policy and Budget, and various trade groups and associations throughout the State of Florida.
Born and raised in Central Illinois, Ayers graduated in 2001 with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Business Administration from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, then relocated to Washington, D.C. to begin his professional career. After a brief stint with the United States House Committee on Government Reform, he joined the Office of U.S. Congressman Robin Hayes (NC-8), where he served as a legislative assistant with responsibility over Economic Development, Labor, Trade and other issues. In addition to his time in Washington, Ayers has served in various capacities in several state and federal campaigns and multiple stints with the Republican Party of Florida.
Buller has spent nearly 30 years in leadership at the Melbourne Regional Chamber, including 25 years at CFO. In her current role, she oversees all financial and human resource functions, as well overseeing the annual audit process and maintaining the accuracy of the database and accounting connection.
She left the Melbourne Chamber for five years to serve as executive vice president/CFO of the Fox Cities Chamber of Commerce in Appleton, Wisconsin. Throughout her career, she has gained expertise in finance, fundraising, organizational management, leadership, budgeting and analysis.
Buller earned a Bachelor of Arts in History with a minor in Accounting from the College of William and Mary; an Associate of Arts degree in Basic Programming from Wor-Wic Community College and an IOM designation from the Association of Chamber Executives. She serves as a board member for the LPGA Amateur Association and was a founding member of CASA. She also has participated in the United Way Loaned Leader Program. “Working at the Chamber has allowed me to build the local community by helping our local businesses grow, said Buller. “This chamber has been and continues to be the catalyst for positive growth and change people think just happens.”
As Event Manager, Megan Szucs oversees the strategy, administration, and execution of all chamber events and programs. Her responsibilities include managing all aspects of chamber events including revenue and expenses, outreach, preparation and planning, development, promotion, and production as well as providing event planning and execution for all chamber committees and councils.
Josh Ford joined the Melbourne Regional Chamber in October 2022 as Partnership Account Manager, bringing to the role many years of experience in customer retention and satisfaction along with sales and marketing. Prior to joining the MRC team, he worked in dentistry and was responsible for designing and implementing retention strategies to increase loyalty and retain business. By analyzing customer feedback and implementing retention strategies, Josh was able to ensure high-quality customer service and sales. In his prior role, Josh also implanted creative strategies by designing graphics to promote upcoming specials and events.
Born and raised in Baltimore Maryland, Josh moved down to the Space Coast in 2018 to pursue a bachelor’s degree in Aerospace Engineering at the Florida Institute of Technology.
In his new role, Josh said, “my passion in business is boosting customer retention through fostering top-notch customer experience, and I’m thrilled to apply my skills with my MRC team who are so invested in the growth and prosperity of our partners and community. The future is bright for business on the Space Coast, and I look forward to collaborating with our partners to achieve their business goals and dreams.”
Nisha Westerman joined the Chamber in October 2021 as Partnership Coordinator, bringing to the role more than 20 years of experience in sales and marketing. Prior to joining the MRC team, she worked in various sales/marketing positions, as well as in dealer relations, at Ford Motor Company (US) and at Jaguar Land Rover of Thailand.
She earned a Bachelor of Science in Marketing from Pennsylvania State University and an MBA from the University of Pittsburgh.
On her new role, Nisha said, “I am excited to grow and develop strong relationships with our partners and the community. I look forward to us becoming the one-stop shop for our partners to engage with us, and to make connections with other partners and resources.”
As Office Coordinator, Judy Petramale is responsible for meeting and greeting visitors, managing the front desk, and performing administrative tasks that support the executive team in all clerical functions.
She brings to the role 25 years of experience in various administrative positions. Prior to working at the Melbourne Regional Chamber, she worked in the insurance industry, including 20 years as an account manager specializing in commercial lines of insurance.
Petramale earned a degree in Business Administration at Ulster County Community College, in Stoneridge, NY. “I chose to work at the Chamber because it allows me an opportunity to utilize my administrative skills and support the chamber’s mission to enrich local business development,” Judy said. “I enjoy making a positive impact by representing the Melbourne Chamber in a helpful welcoming manner. In my current role, I provide administrative support that allows the chamber to grow and maintain a thriving business environment.”