The Herald Bulletin

Afternoon Update

Local Business

April 6, 2013

Chairmen of the Board

Former chamber board leaders on moving forward, spurring growth

ANDERSON, Ind. — There’s a lot of weight resting on the shoulders of the Madison County Chamber of Commerce.

It’s a uniter — linking businesses, professionals and developers. It’s also an organizer — often helping to sound the charge in the battle to improve the local economy, and thereby the community and its perceptions.

Wow. Where to begin?

Fortunately for current president Kyle Morey and his team, they can draw from the past to help shape the chamber’s future. Last week, former board chairmen — a veritable “who’s who” list of the Madison County business community — assembled at Anderson Country Club to discuss their terms, the strengths and weaknesses of the chamber’s current plan of action and ideas for moving forward and spurring growth.

Be positive and spread pride

General Motors, once a huge employer in Anderson and Madison County, closed shop here years ago. But speaking with many locals, you’d think it happened yesterday. It’s time to “get over it,” advised Marj Shell, who served in 2001.

Rather, the chamber should focus on positive developments in the local economy. For example, the rash of commitments last year from companies — such as the one from major Honda plastic components supplier Greenville Technology, Inc. — which totaled about 1,110 new local jobs and $217,078,350 in expected development.

Spotlighting the positive can improve the community’s view of itself, and in turn, potentially draw interest from future developers who see the county as upward bound.

“We lack hope when we give up,” Morey said. “It’s time to be a part of the solution, not the problem...Stop whining and do something about it!”

Focus on youth

About 57 percent of high school graduates go on to a four-year college. That’s good, except they don’t stay here; Only 16.6 percent of area residents have the equivalent of a bachelor’s degree.

One key to boosting economic growth could be plugging the ‘brain drain’ by engaging the county’s youth. The chamber hopes to tackle that through mentoring and networking initiatives, and by providing free Student2Pro membership to at least 1,000 students from Anderson and Purdue universities and Ivy Tech Community and Harrison colleges.

Later this year, it will also launch the Young Entrepreneurs Academy, which unites over 30 community partners to teach 72 high school students about “establishing a business, social movement or enterprise.”   

Take a stand

The chamber needs to have an active voice in the local discussion, said 1986 chairman Meredith Church.

For example, she said, on revitalization projects such as the proposed Mounds Lake Reservoir, which the chamber did last month with a formal backing statement.

The chamber touted the 2,100-acre project’s potential to create “prime real estate around the reservoir, higher property values, flood control, and a central Indiana water resource,” in addition to opportunities for quality of life activities such as boating, trails and fishing.

“They (the chairmen) were adamant that we get behind this,” said chamber executive vice president Angela Barbosa.

The chamber aims to galvanize a public policy committee, and publish six statements supporting the voice of Madison County business community. It also plans to build relationships with the key opinion leaders in each of the seven counties surrounding Madison, who could potentially “impact the county’s bottom line.”

Communication

Not only is it important for the chamber to voice its own opinions, but it also needs to create venues for others to voice theirs.

That’s something the chamber does well, according to the Indiana Chamber Executives Association 2013 Excellence in Communication Awards, which earlier this month ranked Madison County among the top 15 in the state for its efforts in communication.

“The hard work and dedication of the professionals leading the Madison County Chamber are apparent through the works submitted for review by the judging panel,” said Shelli Williams, president of the Association.

Namely, the chamber’s innovative ideas, including its signature FAB (Females Active in Business) program, which links local women business leaders via its monthly luncheons. That program has “generated not only local but regional interest and routinely draws attendees from a 30-mile radius to attend,” the Association said.

“It is a testament to the vision put forth by our board of directors in conjunction with the roll-up-your-sleeves-and-get-to-work attitude by staff,” Morey said, specifically Barbosa, who’s a key driver behind FAB.

Find Baylee Pulliam on Facebook and @BayleeNPulliam on Twitter, or call 648-4250.

1
Text Only
Local Business
  • Historic barn tour and workshop Sept. 19 Across Indiana, barns of all ages and types have been successfully rehabilitated for modern farming and other uses. On Sept. 19, Indiana Landmarks offers BARN AGAIN!, a workshop to help owners maximize use of vintage barns.

    August 20, 2014

  • NWS - HB0820 - Kennedy Google- JC 2 Google X captures heart, imagination of AU professor After spending the summer working at Google's secret research laboratory in Mountain View, California, Scott Kennedy has decided to stay.

    August 19, 2014 3 Photos

  • Residential electric rates increasing by 9 percent The electric rates for residential customers of Anderson Municipal Light & Power will increase by 8.96 percent for the final three months of the year.

    August 19, 2014

  • Indiana experiences growth in manufacturing sector Known for its strength in traditional and progressive manufacturing, Indiana gained more than 5,500 jobs in the manufacturing sector last month and has maintaining a 5.9 percent unemployment rate from June.

    August 19, 2014

  • NWS - HB0819 - Mounds Reservoir - JC 1 People get a view of proposed reservoir

    Local residents are being given the opportunity to discuss the benefits and challenges that face the development of the proposed Mounds Lake reservoir.

    August 19, 2014 3 Photos

  • FEA - HB0819 - Mommy Monday - JC 3 Mommy and me time

    Babette Bargo of Anderson said she brought her daughter to Community Hospital’s first Mommy Monday to meet other mothers and children after her sister-in-law told her about the event.

    August 18, 2014 2 Photos

  • Reservoir would reduce tax revenues If the proposed Mounds Lake reservoir becomes a reality by 2021, local taxing units could lose an estimated $1.9 million in revenues.

    August 18, 2014

  • Ambulance provider to leave communities

    Area hospitals say they are not sure what to make of Rural/Metro Corp.’s announcement to end ambulance services in some Indiana communities.

    August 18, 2014

  • Grant intended to lift college completion for 21st Century Scholars Fall classes at Ivy Tech Community College aren't set to begin for another week, but "college success coaches" from a company called InsideTrack are already contacting 21st Century Scholars to help them transition from high school to college.

    August 18, 2014

  • Jesse Wilkerson: Change is not always good, but sometimes necessary

    Remember when you graduated from high school? You and others started preparing yourself to take on more responsibility. A change occurred. Ready or not you were faced with more decisions that would have greater impact on your life.

    August 18, 2014

Stocks
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide