The End of 2017—Already?!
Time flies, doesn’t it? The 18th century Irish novelist Laurence Stern once wrote that “Time wastes too fast: every letter I trace tells me with what rapidity life follows my pen. The days and hours of it are flying over our heads like clouds of a windy day never to return more—everything presses on.” Another (more contemporary and just slightly less poetic) thinker, Ferris Bueller, put it this way in the classic 1986 movie Ferris Bueller’s Day Off: “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.”
Those quotes come to mind as I think back on this past year as your Chamber Chairman of the Board. It has been a blur, and I can hardly believe my tenure as Chairman is about to come to an end. The agony … the ecstasy … and all the meetings about the North Avenue name change!
In all seriousness, one thing I’ve come to see as Chamber Chairman is that the high-visibility items (such as North Avenue) represent a small fraction of what the Chamber does, and there are countless lower-profile Chamber initiatives and programs that bring value to our members, which benefit the entire community, and that drive economic development.
Last month at its annual board planning session, the Chamber Board had an opportunity to consider the question of “What if the Grand Junction Area Chamber of Commerce didn’t exist?” (Along the lines of, I suppose, the classic Christmas film It’s a Wonderful Life.)
Without the Chamber in 2017, these things—among many others—may NOT have gotten done:
• Passage of ballot question 2B, wherein voters approved directing certain Riverside Parkway funding from debt reduction to immediate Grand Junction street repair and reconstruction needs. The Chamber and WCBA spearheaded the “yes on 2B” campaign effort. (As an aside, the Chamber’s role in infrastructure economic development matters is well-established: Did you know, for example, that the Chamber was at the center of the original 2003 vote to build the Riverside Parkway itself – including serving as treasurer for the “yes” campaign?)
• The CMU20000 initiative would not have been launched, strengthening a partnership between the community and Colorado Mesa University that will lead to greater prosperity and boost the quality of life for all citizens.
• Countless networking events, training activities, business referrals, and business-building activities.
• 120 businesses were individually visited and provided with information and tools to help them expand. One company added 200 jobs. Another saved over $45,000 due to the efforts of the Chamber’s Business Retention/Expansion Specialist in partnership with the City of Grand Junction.
• Mesa County became the first ACT Certified Workforce Ready Community in Colorado, due to help provided by Chamber members to the Mesa County Workforce Center.
• “CareerWise” launched successfully, with high school students in multiyear apprenticeships that will begin to address the future talent needs of local businesses.
• Countless meetings with local, state, and federal legislators and staff members with the goal of
• fostering an even stronger economic climate that will benefit business.
The list could go on, but you get the idea. I am proud to say that the 2017 Chamber was a champion for the business community. And I suppose it’s appropriate that this year seems to have flown by. The tenure of any one chair, after all, is but a blink of an eye in the Chamber’s history: as I noted in my first Chairman’s Column, we started in Grand Junction in 1884 (yes, 1884) as the Board of Trade. I am proud to have had a small part in advancing the Chamber’s core mission of promoting the economy and serving as the voice of business. Of course, none of this would have happened without the incredible team at the Chamber: volunteers, board members, staff and, most of all, those of you who put your faith in what we can and will do by investing in the Grand Junction Area Chamber of Commerce as members. Thank you for your confidence in our organization, and for your confidence in our community.
I will see you at the Annual Banquet, January 26, 2018, as we celebrate together the success we all shared in 2017!
Click here to download full version of the Grand Junction Area Chamber of Commerce December 2017 Newsletter