It’s an honor to serve as your Chamber’s 2017 Chairman of the Board. I’m grateful to last year’s chair, Matthew Breman, for his talented and resourceful leadership of the Chamber. I feel a debt of gratitude to leaders like Matthew—and the many men and women who served before him as chair—for being great stewards of this venerable organization.
The tenure of any one chair, though, is but a blink of an eye in the Chamber’s history: we started in Grand Junction in 1884 as the Board of Trade. Yes, 1884. This makes you as Chamber members part of one of the oldest non-governmental institutions in Grand Junction. And while much has changed since 1884 (including a name change to “Chamber of Commerce” in 1921), the Chamber’s core mission has always remained the same: promoting the economy, and serving as the voice of business.
That core mission is reflected in the nautical theme of this year’s Annual Banquet, “Charting a Course to Business Success.” Please join your fellow business and community leaders for this marquee event on January 27. This cannot-miss banquet includes the best networking, outstanding silent and live auctions, awards for citizen and business of the year, and of course casino games. Tickets and corporate tables are going fast, so call and reserve your spot before the event “sets sail.”
Our 2017 Business Plan also reflects the Chamber’s core mission of promoting the economy and serving as the voice of business. With the valuable input received from our members through the annual membership survey, and with the assistance of our community stakeholders, the Chamber Board has identified these key areas as priorities in the coming year:
- Promoting a strong local economy through continued efforts to develop the current and emerging workforce. The Chamber has various workforce-related programs and tools that it continues to employ, and looks forward to continued collaboration with our education, industry, and business partners.
- Promoting a strong local economy through a robust business retention and expansion program. The Chamber has dramatically stepped up its work in this regard, and now has a full-time staff member, C.J. Rhyne, focused on outreach to local manufacturers and employers. (Wish someone from the Chamber would call you to discuss retention or expansion issues at your business? Don’t wait, give C.J. a call.)
- 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. Serving as the voice of business has been a hallmark of our Chamber since 1884: promoting the economy means promoting business, and the Chamber does not shy away from providing input to local, state, and federal elected officials and decision makers.
- Last but not least, we are focused on offering direct benefits to our members that will strengthen their individual businesses. A Chamber is only as strong as its members, and the Chamber is committed to offering you the very best programs and events. In the coming year, look for Sunrise Seminars, our inaugural Health Care Summit, along with members favorites such as Leads Groups and Networking at Noon.
I grew up here in Grand Junction, graduating from Grand Junction High School before heading east for college. Before returning back to Grand Junction a few years ago, I practiced law at a large international law firm in New York City for several years. It was a great experience, but as my family grew, my wife and I knew that Grand Junction would be the best place to call home. So we returned. My hope is that, in my brief “blink of an eye” as Chairman of the Chamber Board, I can have a small but meaningful part in helping this 130 year-old institution play a role in making our community an even better place to live, work, and raise a family.
Jeffrey Hurd, 2017 Chairman of the Board