As the incoming Chairman of the Chamber’s Board, I am honored to have this exceptional opportunity to serve our business community. As the 2016 Chair, I am looking forward to working even closer with our wonderfully dynamic Chamber team lead by Diane Schwenke, and to continuing the great work of my predecessor, Jeff Franklin. Jeff’s talented leadership is reflected in how much the Chamber and its members accomplished this past year and the lasting, positive impact everyone’s efforts have on our local businesses and community.
The heart and soul of our Grand Junction Chamber is not limited to merely a staff of six people and a volunteer board of 20. Rather, the true character and full capability of our Chamber rests with and is reflected in the commitment and action of each and every one of our members who are working together and investing in a place we make our home: the members that invest their time and talent to help our young entrepreneurs in the YEA! program, the members who serve as the Diplomats and reach out to our growing businesses, the members who volunteer on our Governmental Affairs committee to ensure that our concerns are actively represented, the members who take part in our networking opportunities, the members of the Young Professional Network who are creating a community for younger leaders, and so many more.
I am very excited about 2016 and all the opportunities and challenges we’ll encounter as we further advance our mission of promoting economic growth and being the voice of business. With the valuable input and information shared with us via the annual membership survey and the assistance of our community stakeholders, we have developed an outline of goals for 2016. Recognizing the critical need for the Chamber to focus on helping our existing businesses, we are committing the Chamber’s resources to the following five goals:
- Continue to develop a skilled workforce that meets both the current and future needs of employers. We can only accomplish this working in tight collaboration with education, industry and business partners.
- Promote a strong local economy by instituting a robust retention/expansion program and supporting our business development partners. We will need to have a person dedicated to interviewing existing business so that we can better understand the needs and challenges to growth, both for individual business as well as industry sectors, so that, in turn, we can develop a plan to address those issues.
- Continue to be the voice for business needs and the advocate for a stronger business climate in the legislative and regulatory arenas at all levels of government. By strengthening the communication, engaging and encouraging younger business leaders to be active in governmental policymaking, and hosting informational meetings on ballot issues and candidates, we can help ensure that our members our heard.
- Actively work to ensure the business infrastructure is in place to encourage business growth. This includes expanding our air service, looking at ways to assist our small business with the changing landscape of healthcare, and the continue investment in broadband.
- By continuing to listen to you, our members, we can continue providing tangible return on investment. These direct benefits range from over 300 networking and marketing opportunities, education programs such as Mesa County Leadership classes and the Chamber University eLearning Center, access to the Chamber’s conference room, relocation packages and job postings on the Chamber’s website.
The Chamber is more than just a building and it is much more than the staff and Board. Our chamber is YOU, a medley of individuals and businesses that have a common goal of making Grand Junction a better and more prosperous place to work, live, and raise a family. It is only through YOU and the FORCE you bring to the Chamber that we are able to accomplish these goals. I urge you to get involved, partake in the many benefits and opportunities your Chamber provides.
By now everyone should have received their Annual Chamber Banquet invite and if I had the ability to do Jedi mind tricks, I would urge you to join me on January 29th for an evening of celebrating our fellow Jedi of our economy, but since I can’t, I will leave you with this brilliant quote from Chewbacca “Uuuuuuuuuurrr Ahhhhhrrrr Uhrrrr Ahhhrrrr Aaaarhg!”
Matthew Breman, 2016 Chairman of the Board
Click here to download full version of the Grand Junction Area Chamber of Commerce January 2016 Newsletter.