How is it December already? Wow! Traditionally the December Chairman column focuses on the Chamber’s noteworthy accomplishments over the past year. There were many in 2021, and I will get to them shortly… But first, I want to congratulate the business community for surviving 2021.

A year ago, we figured if we could just get to the vaccine and herd im

munity this nightmare would all be over. Instead, the pandemic continues and now, as businesses of all sizes, we are also coping with a severe worker shortage and supply chain disruptions that will likely take years to normalize. The pandemic has changed the face of business. Yet, we keep going and keep adapting. We keep employing people. We keep serving the communities we live in by bringing them needed products and services. We keep contributing to nonprofits and community causes. We make a positive difference just by continuing to be in business (no small feat!) and we should take pride in our resilience.

Along the way, we’ve had some help from the Chamber. The Chamber continued the 5-Star program to inspire consumer confidence and engagement with local business. The Chamber strengthened partnerships with other community organizations to bring needed regulatory information via webinars and events. The Chamber also went to bat for all of us in taking positions on 39 bills before the state legislature, testifying on behalf of the business community and lobbying lawmakers to bring awareness to possible consequences for our state’s business climate. Sometimes we were successful, but even when we were not, we continued to engage and to be a voice for business. Business perspectives were also shared during two local elections to engage with potential government officials on the importance of a healthy business climate.
The Chamber also brought back events in 2021, to provide opportunity for networking and connection building. The Chamber Annual Banquet in June was the first major in-person event for community and business leaders. We’ll be back together soon for another annual banquet at the end of January (with appropriate health and safety measures). The popular Networking at Noon and Business After Hours events returned to in-person formats too.
We are also immensely proud that we were able to maintain and even grow many of the programs that the Chamber runs or supports. Ten young people launched new businesses through the Young Entrepreneurs Academy. The 2021 Leadership Class will be one of the largest and most active classes in years. Apprenticeships, job shadows, and internships all continued through Chamber programs in 2021, offering important resources and support for businesses and individuals.

As businesses in the Grand Junction area, we are resilient! We also have an incredible resource in our Chamber of Commerce. With a great staff, an engaged board and membership, a clear mission to grow our economy, incredible economic development and community partners, the Chamber has helped us weather these chaotic times.
Thank you for your continued engagement in the Chamber and for your support of our community. I have so enjoyed serving as your Board Chairman and I look forward to continuing to connect with you as an active Chamber member. The challenging times over the past couple of years have shown me more than ever before the importance and the value of the Chamber.

Please plan to join 2022 Chairman Ivan Geer and me on January 28th at the Chamber Annual Banquet, as we celebrate the year that passed us by so quickly in 2021 and look forward to 2022. The work of supporting the business community and a strong economic climate continues!

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