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Message from the CEO – October 2014 

Cecil Russell

Chamber CEO,
Cecil Russell

We have just celebrated our 53rd Annual Harvest Luncheon which draws attention to our agricultural heritage and all of the economic bounty that we enjoy in our community. I personally want to thank all of the hard working people that have been the power behind this event. Many have served for years to help with the success of this event. Dr. Mark Bender from California State University has retired from teaching and is leaving the committee to spend more time enjoying retirement. Keri Layne with Yosemite Farm Credit has been Chairperson and is leaving the committee after this year. We thank both of these great committee members and wish them success in their other endeavors. Mike Henderson has been the Chairperson this year and we thank him and all of the rest of the committee for their commitment to Harvest Luncheon. We would not be able to donate scholarship funds to Modesto Chamber of Commerce Voss/Berryhill Modesto Junior College Agricultural students without the generosity of our many sponsors. A special thank you to Del Monte for their many years of sponsorship, also to Mape’s Ranch for providing tri-tip and to all of the other sponsors.

As this edition of Progress arrives we will have just finished with our 31st Annual Oktoberfest event. This has historically been a great event offering sampling of different beers and wines, great brats and other traditional German food. We wish to thank all of our sponsors, especially Central Valley Automotive, Rank Security, Boyett Petroleum, Cumulus Media and the many volunteers that make this event successful.

We reported in last month’s issue of Progress the challenges facing our businesses due to the threat of ADA lawsuits. We have joined forces with other Chambers in the area and with Stanislaus Business Alliance to hold sessions to help better inform our businesses on how to comply with the law and how to mitigate / avoid the entanglements of these potential lawsuits. Thank you to the Modesto Bee for helping to shed light on this threat to our local businesses.

Our annual State of the Region event will take place on October 22nd. This year’s event promises information on economic development and how to grow/bring jobs to our community. David White from the Stanislaus Business Alliance will discuss the results from the data his organization has gathered on over 200 businesses in our area. His presentation will shed light on a strategic approach to help these businesses grow and how we might attract more business to our area. Congressman Jeff Denham will participate in the event and explain how we may attract Federal dollars to help with job training and other types of assistance. In addition, the State of the Region event will include a panel of elected officials including, Senator’s Anthony Cannella and Cathleen Galgiani as well as Assemblymember’s Kristin Olsen and Adam Gray, who will share their plans to help our area attract jobs.

The backbone of jobs in our community comes from local owned and operated businesses. We are highlighting some of these businesses in this issue of Progress. Companies like Warden’s that have been not only a great employer, but have also been a company that has given back to our community, for over 49 years. They are one of many local businesses that have thrived and continue to deserve our support. Others local businesses who have greatly impacted our community include Slaters Home Furnishing, Save Mart Supermarkets, Crystal Creamery, Foster Farms, and Sciabica Olive Oil to name a few.

The Economic Development Committee has had a busy summer of meetings including speakers covering important subjects. We have heard from our Interim City Manager Jim Holgersson, updating us on city of Modesto issues, Dr. Joe Sheley, President of California State University, Stanislaus, speaking on the importance of business and education working together, and Wayne Zipser, Director of the Stanislaus Farm Bureau, speaking on issues facing our agriculture community. Our Government Relations Committee has interviewed all of the candidates running for our State Senate, our two Assembly seats, and our Congressional seat. The interview questions and their answers are included in this issue of Progress. Please review and VOTE for the candidate that you think will best represent our business community and help provide a better quality of life for all.

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