It has truly been my pleasure to serve as your Chairman in 2018. I know it is a cliché but this year has flown by and I’m very pleased with all of the success that has been achieved in our community in what seemed to me to be in the blink of an eye!
There were some very exciting accomplishments this year including getting a final decision in the Grand Valley Drainage District Lawsuit that will save area businesses over $2 million annually and the successful campaign to pass 2A, that will equip the Grand Junction Regional Air Service Alliance with funds needed to move the needle in attracting more direct flights. But that was just a start. Here is a sampling of other accomplishments that allowed the Chamber to provide a significant return on your membership investment:
Workforce collaboration reached new levels that led to more interns, more apprentices, and more real-world skill development for high school and post-secondary students. State recognition of our coalition building was awarded in November.
The Foreign Trade Zone moved much closer to reality which will assist our manufacturing community in managing costs in an age of rising tariffs. Along the way, the Grand Junction Regional Airport was approved as a user fee airport for placement of a Customs and Border Protection Agent which will allow private (and maybe someday commercial) international flights.
Another class of Young Entrepreneurs graduated from YEA! having started real businesses and one of our youngest entrepreneurs, Nick Silzell, garnered the People’s Choice Award and a $20,000 scholarship at the national competition beating out over 100 competitors from around the country.
A longstanding frustration with freight logistics due to the lack of a local transloading infrastructure may be over soon due to efforts by the Chamber to secure a private company that can handle such duties. It may mean the end to watching shipments go through the community on rail to Denver and then have to be trucked back over the Continental Divide.
Close to 50 businesses had the opportunity to meet with a Mesa County Library researcher to learn how to use a powerful database to target marketing efforts and new clients.
All of this was accomplished because of our outstanding volunteers and staff and what we all need to remember is that the Chamber is not a building on the corner of 4th and Grand but it is good business people that are willing to come together to develop and expand our community with both monetary commitments as well as the desire to volunteer their valuable time and talents to build this economy one job at a time. I’ve been blessed to see all of this unfold as your volunteer leader this year. Thank you! And I look forward to thanking many of you in person at the Annual Banquet on January 25th.