As your 2015 Chairman of the Board I know I have some big shoes to fill following in the footsteps of 2014 Chairman Greg Motz. I was amazed when I read the 2014 Business Plan and realized how much of our goals and strategies had actually been achieved. I hope I can carry on that tradition of not just recognizing the needs of business but also acting to meet those needs in 2015. I would like to thank Greg for his leadership in 2014 and the outgoing board members for their great service for the last 4 years.
I feel that we have a very successful Chamber of Commerce and we will be focusing on increasing our membership in 2015. The Chamber offers many benefits so please tell your business associates about why you belong to the Chamber and encourage them to join and help strengthen our voice of business.
I am very excited about the upcoming year. I think we have a plan that will truly meet our mission of promoting economic growth and being the voice of business. This framework for moving forward was crafted with assistance from community stakeholders, the board, and most importantly the members who took the time to share their thoughts with us during our annual membership survey.
Our first priority is developing our workforce. Time and time again I have heard businesses in recent months express frustration over the lack of a skilled workforce to meet their growing need. We have several programs like Young Entrepreneurs Academy and Hire Me First that are focused on middle and high school students but we need to do more. We need to help employers to identify, hire, train and retain employees…for many of us that is our highest cost of doing business. The Chamber is proud of the partnerships it has with area educational institutions, governmental entities and the business community. We feel we are uniquely suited to collaborate and work with everyone to address this issue head on. It is important to all of us.
Another priority is to help existing businesses succeed and create jobs. It comes as no surprise that in order to do that we first need to understand what existing businesses need which is why we are bringing back the “Listening to Business” program. We will look to our economic development partners like the Business Incubator Center, GJEP, City of Grand Junction and Mesa County to work with us to put feet on the street to hear what is holding back job creation by individual companies and learn common issues that can be addressed at the policy level. A common theme that we have heard from our community stakeholders was improving broadband in our area so we will be working with our ED partners to address these issues.
Listening is not enough, which is why we intend to step up our efforts at being the business voice even further. So much of what affects a business in any industry and of any size is the amount of government regulation that slows down progress. That is why we employ so many of your resources lobbying at every level of government for a favorable business climate. It is no accident that our Governmental Affairs Committee is the largest committee of the Chamber.
These are but a few of the areas that we want to focus on this year but we cannot do that without you, the members. We have a staff of six and a board of 20 and that simply is not enough. I urge you to get involved and join a committee. I also urge you to join me on January 30th for an evening of celebrating the Superheroes of our economy…YOU! We will see you there!
2015 Chairman of the Board