Greetings from the Chamber Board! Better communication with members, doing more to promote members’ interests and focusing more on improving the local economy were some of the goals coming out of a recent board planning session.
David Halvorson at American Chevrolet hosted the planning session and Dave Kilby led our discussions. Mr. Kilby is the vice president of the Cal Chamber and has a wealth of information about what successful chambers are doing throughout the western U.S.
Board members acknowledged that there is much we can do to improve in the areas mentioned above. To improve communication, which includes getting feedback from Chamber members, we have begun hosting “Feedback Breakfasts.” Some board members and staff will gather in small groups with Chamber members on a regular, ongoing basis to discuss what’s going in the business community and to get feedback on members’ needs and suggestions. This program has been tried with success in other chambers and we look forward to starting it soon. Breakfast will be on the Chamber! We are also changing our Chamber Happenings weekly email, making it more streamlined and reader-friendly and we are well into the re-design of the Chamber’s website.
One way we can promote the local economy is to focus on job creation. We were introduced to a book, “The Coming Jobs War” by Jim Clifton, the chairman of Gallup. If you haven’t read it, I highly recommend it. The book discusses how the competition for jobs is now global and discusses ways we can meet the challenge of job creation on a local level. More and better jobs mean more money flowing through the local economy, benefitting everyone, and more tax dollars so local government can provide more services, including police, fire protection, and roads.
Along these lines, the Chamber’s Land Use & Transportation Committee, under the leadership of Craig Lewis, has already been working hard. They are developing a new general plan for Modesto that would set forth a reasonable blueprint for the city to use in creating areas where new businesses could develop and succeed, adding new jobs to the community. They are doing this in
conjunction with a proposal for major transportation corridors that will facilitate commerce. This is exciting and critically important work that could really help to improve Modesto. You will be hearing a lot more about this in coming months.
We are also looking at ways to promote the interests of our members. We have discussed studying and taking a position on some of the Mayor’s proposals, such as the public safety tax, as well as taking another look at the pros and cons of a transportation tax initiative. We also need to look at more ways Chamber members can benefit from doing business with other Chamber members.
The Chamber Board is really energized and committed to having the Chamber be a force for business and especially members’ businesses. Besides the above, we are looking for new ways to accomplish this, as well as recharging some of our existing programs. We have a great staff and their leader, Cecil Russell, is leading the charge. I am excited about the direction we are taking. Call, email or stop by the Chamber. Let us know how we’re doing and give us your feedback. Modesto has tremendous potential. Let’s join together and make it happen!