Chamber Stepping Up for Community
Tania Kohut on Monday, October 8, 2012 at 12:00:00 am Comments (0)
Anniston, Alabama’s local newspaper, The Anniston Star, reports that the Calhoun County (AL) Chamber of Commerce is making significant personnel and organizational changes as a result of military cutbacks which have impacted the community’s workforce. The changes include a new role for the chamber’s current president and an expansion of the chamber’s job placement program, both aimed at helping those affected by the job cuts.
Calhoun County is home to the Anniston Army Depot, which, according to the Depot’s website, originated in 1942 as a storage depot, but has transformed into a state-of-the-market maintenance facility, earning the reputation as “The Tank Rebuild Center of the World.” The Depot is also one of nine U.S. Army installations in the country charged with neutralizing or destroying the country’s chemical weapons stockpiles. As a result of the downsizing of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, according to the chamber’s chairman, hundreds of the community’s residents were laid-off in the past year.
The changes at the chamber are possible due to a recent $740,000 federal grant for the chamber’s Operation: 1st RATE (Ready Able Trained Employees) program, which provides job placement assistance for those who were laid-off. The article states that “[t]o date, more than 500 people have registered with Operation: 1st RATE and the program has so far found new jobs for more than 120 residents”
Learn more about the changes at the chamber and the estimated $10 million total economic impact these new jobs will have on the area, by clicking here.
Mobs Supporting Business in Columbus
Tania Kohut on Wednesday, October 3, 2012 at 12:00:00 am Comments (0)
Ohio’s Columbus Area Chamber has become a mob boss of sorts, and area businesses are not complaining. This year the chamber jumped on a new social trend: cash mobs, which are similar to flash mobs, but designed to bring a large number of people to a designated local business to spend money and support the local economy. With three cash mobs launched so far this year, the chamber looks forward to holding more. The Columbus Telegram covered the chamber’s most recent cash mob event. Click here to read the article and learn more about how the Columbus Chamber’s cash mobs work and how they can be a fun way to support local businesses and be a networking opportunity for your members.
Colorado Springs Re-Brand
Tania Kohut on Tuesday, October 2, 2012 at 12:00:00 am Comments (0)
In February, the Greater Colorado Springs Chamber merged with the Colorado Springs Regional Economic Development Corporation. As a result of the union, the organization now goes by the Greater Colorado Springs Regional Business Alliance, and it has a unveiled a new logo. According to an online news report on Colorado Springs’ NBC affiliate KOAA, “History was made with the name change as this is the first time the chamber has ever rebranded in its 120 years.” See the new look and read a bit about what’s next for the Alliance by clicking here.
Angus Named Canada’s Top Chamber Exec
Tania Kohut on Monday, October 1, 2012 at 12:00:00 am Comments (0)
Dave Angus, president and CEO of the Winnipeg Chamber of Commerce, was recently named Canada’s top chamber executive for 2012. The honor was bestowed by the Chamber of Commerce Executives of Canada (CCEC). In selecting a winner, the CCEC considers, among other things, outstanding personal and organizational performance, membership growth for the candidate’s chamber, its financial status, and his or her contribution to the chamber profession. Angus, a former ACCE board member, has led the Winnipeg Chamber since 1999. According to the chamber’s website, under his leadership the chamber has increased its membership to the highest level in its history (more than 2,050 corporate members) and has been recognized by the Canadian Chamber of Commerce as an Accredited Chamber with Distinction. A recent Probe Research poll also revealed the chamber is the most credible, trusted business organization in the province.
Wait till you see OKC
Ian Scott on Monday, October 1, 2012 at 12:00:00 am Comments (0)
Last week I accompanied ACCE's convention boss Crystal Moore to Oklahoma City on the first site visit for the 2013 annual convention. While scouting a dozen venues for events, meetings and tours we saw a lot of the city and met a lot of proud Oklahomans.
If you've never been to Oklahoma City before, you're in for a pleasant surprise next summer.
You've undoubtedly noticed OKC high on many community rankings lists, but what the rankings can't capture is the spirit. This place has a vibe, a swagger, a kind of can-do attitude that comes from a decade and a half of transformational development.
Consider this: what was recently a cluster of dilapidated warehouses on the edge of downtown is now Bricktown, a premier dining and entertainment district that draws visitors from around the state. Just a few years ago, the river was so low that it had to be mowed in the summer. Now the Boathouse District is official training site for the US Olympic rowing team with world-class training facilities. I'm not kidding when I say world-class; they have an altitude training chamber and a pool that can simulate rowing conditions on any river in the world.
The recently opened, 52-story Devon Energy Center punctuates the skyline; and it was built in less than two years. The Crystal Bridge Tropical Conservatory is an LED-lit beacon in the downtown Myriad Botanical Garden. Even in the off season you see so many flags, tee shirts and posters for the Western Conference Champion OKC Thunder that you have to assume its game day.
OKC is also proud of its heritage. The chamber's board room is lined in white cotton, a reminder that just over a century ago the city's only buildings were pioneers' tents. The National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum celebrates the iconic figures images of the Old West. The city's landscape is dotted with references to famous native sons: Mickey Mantle Drive, Will Rogers Airport, Jim Thorpe Museum, Flaming Lips Alley.
This city has momentum,and I don’t expect them to slow down any time soon. I look forward to seeing you there next July.
It Never Hurts to Hear it Again: Be Prepared
Tania Kohut on Tuesday, September 25, 2012 at 12:00:00 am Comments (0)
Tonya Sprenkle, vice president of the Joplin Area (MO) Chamber of Commerce, spoke last week at the monthly luncheon of the Blue Springs (MO) Chamber of Commerce. She traveled to Blue Springs, approximately 150 miles north of Joplin, to share lessons learned from the deadly EF-5 tornado which tore through the area May 22, 2011. The Blue Springs Examiner offers a recap of Sprenkle’s presentation in which she stressed the importance of the chamber having an emergency plan, knowing the resources in your community, and being prepared for the long haul—Joplin is still recovering. The article quotes Sprenkle as saying that with disaster, “You will be busy. Life doesn’t get back to normal.” Read the complete article here.
Spotlight on the New Bedford Chamber
Tania Kohut on Monday, September 24, 2012 at 12:00:00 am Comments (0)
Southcoast Business Bulletin, a monthly newspaper covering local and regional business news in Southeastern Massachusetts and Rhode Island, recently interviewed New Bedford Area Chamber President and CEO Roy Nascimento, IOM. Get to know this ACCE-member chamber, its community, and why Nascimento’s “bullishness on New Bedford” is paying off for this number one fishing port in America and the world's most famous whaling era seaport. Nascimento talks about how local businesses feel about the economy, challenges facing the region, positive things happening in New Bedford, and the chamber’s initiatives on education, workforce development, and economic development projects. Read the interview here.
Why They Play
Ian Scott on Monday, September 24, 2012 at 12:00:00 am Comments (0)
If you've seen an ACCE trends presentation, then you probably remember Mick's triangle diagram showing the chamber at the intersection of business, politics and community. We use the slide (pictured below) to remind audiences that chambers have a unique position which makes running one both fun and challenging. If you love your chamber career, this unique position is probably a big reason why.
It's also why your organization has members who just can't get enough.
I was reminded of this last week when two chamber delegations visited Washington D.C. Rick Baker and Andy Johnston from the Grand Rapids Area Chamber brought corporate leaders to town to muster legislative support for a key piece of infrastructure. Later in the week, a delegation from Valdosta, Ga., led by Myrna Ballard, brought a strong business climate agenda to their federal elected officials.
The 20-some business leaders from Michigan and Georgia whom I met aren’t hired lobbyists. They didn't come to D.C. to win a government contract or fight a regulation that dings just their respective business or industry. They represent a cross-section of the business community – manufacturers, bankers, pharmaceutical distributors, utilities, and HR consultants. Some were senior executives from publicly-traded firms, others were sole proprietors. They all have one thing in common: they care.
They care about their business and about their community. They know they have a big stake in the success of each and that their voice matters with elected officials. They traveled on their own dime and their own time because they know it’s important.
I suspect that they also made the trip because they enjoy it. Like you, they enjoy playing in the intersection of business, politics and community. Who else but a chamber of commerce gives business leaders that opportunity?
Photo courtesy Valdosta Chamber of Commerce
Getting to the Core in Coeur d’Alene
Ian Scott on Thursday, September 20, 2012 at 12:00:00 am Comments (0)
Coeur d'Alene, the name shared by a lake, town and hotel, is the premier destination in Idaho's northern panhandle. It's hard to spell but easy to love. The shimmering waters and glowing sunsets make you want to sink in to a deck chair and ponder existence for a couple of days. But, that's not why I was there.
I made the trip to join CEOs and senior staff from statewide chambers of commerce and business associations from across the country. While seminars from the Pew Center on the States’ Results First campaign and BIPAC were conference highlights, the emerging impact of independent expenditures in state elections fueled the most discussion, both during and after hours.
Two days with this group reaffirmed something I've long known: business organizations looking to improve the quality and effectiveness of their communications, particularly political messages, should benchmark against state chambers.
The samples exchanged this week are too good not to share. Here are a few you should check out:
- Kentucky Chamber - Ready for Jobs?
Rankings-focused, data rich brochure examines how Kentucky stacks up as a place to do business based on 8 key policy and business climate areas.
- Florida Chamber – Free Enterprise and Fairness
There's no subtlety obscuring this video's message about public employee unions, it's just one example of bold politics from the Florida Chamber.
- North Carolina Chamber - NC Jobs Wins
Trifold flyer highlights legislative victories over the past biennium and outlines priorities for 2013.
- Association of Washington Business - Challenges and Opportunities
Flyer succinctly tells the story of the manufacturing sector's economic impact and policy priorities.
Bringing the Beach to the DNC
Tania Kohut on Thursday, September 6, 2012 at 12:00:00 am Comments (0)
The Myrtle Beach Area, S.C., Chamber of Commerce is taking advantage of the local and national media attention that Charlotte, N.C., is garnering thanks to this week’s Democratic National Convention. As part of a promotional campaign highlighting Myrtle Beach as a vacation destination, the chamber, working with Myrtle Beach’s CVB, arranged for two sand sculptures—one of President Obama and the other of the Democratic donkey symbol—to be built on one of Charlotte’s busiest streets during the convention. The sand came from South Carolina, traveling the 175 miles separating Charlotte from Myrtle Beach. According to Nora Battle, the chamber's media communications manager, "We're a bipartisan beach with a big dose of Southern hospitality.”
Photo courtesy of Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce