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Message from the CEO – March 2017 

This is our traditional “Gala” issue of Progress Magazine. We have been celebrating our members for over 100 years. We had a great evening recently celebrating 2016. Thank you to all of our members who participated in the nomination process. We had a great group of members nominated for our Members’ Choice Awards. The evening was highlighted by over 600 people in attendance; these members were a diverse group made up of business executives, entrepreneurs, elected officials, and nonprofit community leaders. As you can see from the photos in this issue, those who came out to the Gala had a great time with friends new and old, enjoying delicious local food and drinks. Congratulations to all of the award winners! They are featured in our cover story.

Some of the winners that I would like to highlight include the Chamber Member of the Year Chris Murphy (“Mr. Modesto”) and his companies Sierra Pacific Warehouse Group and ModestoView. Also, the Distinguished Service Award went to a trio of economic development advocates that included longtime Chamber board member Craig Lewis, Stanislaus County Supervisor Vito Chiesa and Paul Van Konynenburg for their combined service in working so hard for so long to pass Measure L.

Our coveted Robert J. Cardoza Citizen of the Year Lifetime Achievement Award was presented to Nicole Piccinini Pesco, who accepted it on behalf of her late father Bob Piccinini and the Save Mart Companies for their many years of contributions to our local community. Please read the history of this great company that was formed in Modesto in 1952 and has had a history of creating jobs for thousands of people and a tradition of strong local civic support and charitable giving. You can find this story and many others on our website at www.ModChamber.org.

The Modesto Chamber is also busy advocating for our members and making Modesto a more business-friendly town. There really is no other organization that continually advocates for local business interests. For example, Modesto Chamber board members Steve Madison and Thomas Reeves, serving on the City’s 2017 Comprehensive Fees Task Force, have attended their first meeting to start the review of processes and procedures to help the City become more business-friendly. The Modesto Chamber will also have representation on the oversight committee to review expenditures from Measure L. This committee exists to ensure that the cap of 1 percent on administrative spending is adhered to and that the promised projects are delivered. Our Mayor of Modesto Ted Brandvold has plans to reconvene his 100-Day Committee to review cost savings opportunities for the City. The Modesto Chamber has three of its board members that have served on this committee. Chamber board members and executive staff also serve on such diverse committees and boards as Stanislaus Partners in Education (SPIE), 209 Project Freedom, Destination Modesto Task Force, 2017 Amgen Tour, Downtown Improvement District, Beautify SR99 Campaign, Graffiti Parade, Stanislaus Chamber Executives Group, 2017 Best Places to Work, and many more other advisory panels and non-profit boards. These are just some of the examples of the Modesto Chamber’s role in providing guidance and support to our region.

The Modesto Chamber had its 2017 board retreat in February. Dave Kilby, the Executive Vice President, Corporate Affairs of Cal Chamber (and former CEO of the Modesto Chamber) facilitated this planning retreat. He reviewed best practices of chambers and guided us with suggestions to help us be even more responsive to our members. We reviewed position and policy statements and committee assignments. We analyzed our events and our role in the business community. We developed plans to refresh our Progress Magazine and our website to better communicate with you. We look forward to developing ways to add even more value to our members in the upcoming months. Your feedback and input on these matters are always welcome.

We have two events coming in the month of April that I want to spotlight. The first is our 22nd annual Ag Aware Luncheon April 7 at 11:30 a.m. at MJC’s “ACE Ag Pavilion” which raises money for scholarships for local high school FFA students. Second, the State of the Region Congressional Update with Guest Speaker U.S. Congressman Jeff Denham will occur on April 19 at 11:30 a.m. at the Gallo Center for the Arts. Contact the Modesto Chamber to purchase tickets or for information on sponsorships for either one of these events. Please mark your calendar for these events.

Finally, we recognized some special members at our Gala—those that have milestone anniversaries as being members of the Modesto Chamber. These great organizations and their milestones are listed to the right, and we are so happy to recognize their longstanding support of the local business community.

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