2012 Report To Investors
Greg Edds – 2012 Board Chair
The Rowan County Chamber of Commerce experienced a successful year in 2012.
First and foremost, our programming has grown and remained solid and relevant as evidenced by the continued strong support, involvement and active engagement of the Rowan County business community. In Rowan County, we have a 33% penetration rate in terms of the number of businesses that are Chamber members. The national average is 21%. With 850-plus members, we’re the 7th largest Chamber out of 30 in the greater Charlotte area. Finally, in spite of the economy, we are in relatively good financial shape.
The following summarizes the other accomplishments during the year. We are extremely indebted to and appreciative of the many volunteers who made this year productive
BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT DIVISION
Mark Seifel, Division Chair
Committee Chairs –Cathy Griffin, Penny Greer-Link and Mark Seifel
The Chamber’s Business Council chalked up another outstanding year in 2012 with the annual Business Show which showcased some 60 exhibitors with hundreds attending. We also awarded the Chamber Champion Small Business of the Year to Med Express Pharmacy. Another program our members find both exciting and beneficial is “Speed Networking”. Each event attracts an average of 30-40 participants.
The Chamber remained the clearinghouse for business assistance via our Business Resource Center (BRC) located in The Gateway and on the Chamber’s Website. The BRC includes electronic business resources (including business plan software), business periodicals and other printed materials for starting or maintaining a small business. We continued our very popular monthly “SBC Days” (Small Business Counseling) where 30 plus local business people or aspiring entrepreneurs met with Rowan-Cabarrus Community College business development counselors in 2012. Additionally, the Chamber continued its counseling partnership with UNC Charlotte’s Small Business Technology Development Center (SBTDC.)
The Chamber’s Industrial Association held quarterly get-togethers that included with each event averaged 20-30 attendees. Certificates of Origin also were issued for area manufacturers exporting their products.
The Chamber’s Women In Business networking group met quarterly in 2012 to exchange ideas, information and success stories. Close to 100 women attended each event.
In the agriculture arena, we again supported numerous agricultural awards and projects such as the Junior Dairy Show and Farm-City Day in conjunction with the North Carolina Cooperative Extension Service.
WORKFORCE EDUCATION AND PUBLIC AFFAIRS DIVISION
Cindy Hart, Division Chair
Committee Chairs –Tim Norris, Julie Gainer and Jeff Jones
The Chamber continued to serve as Rowan County’s information source with numerous referrals and inquiries from new businesses, new residents, visitors, business travelers and the general public. To help accommodate the traffic, a Relocation Guide was printed and offered on-line. The Chamber continued to compile its “Economic Indicators” report during the year and sent it to the membership quarterly.
The Federal and State Affairs Committee continued its agenda in 2012 and took positions on numerous state and federal issues important to the Rowan County business community. We maintained communication with federal elected officials and state legislators via mail, one-on-one meetings in Washington, DC and Rowan County and a Legislative Breakfast
Issues discussed with state legislators and our Congressional delegation included job creation, trade agreements, healthcare, tort reform, American competitiveness, offshore oil and natural gas production, EPA, workers compensation, unemployment benefits, taxes, transportation and other economic development issues. We also continued to offer free membership in the North Carolina State Chamber for Chamber members with ten or less employees.
“Friday Forums” continued to appeal to Chamber member businesses with an average attendance of 35-50 at each event and timely topics including Education Matters in the Rowan-Salisbury Schools, the State of the County and the State of the City.
Candidate Forums were held in the fall in conjunction with Catawba College and the Salisbury Post. Additionally, several meetings were held with Rowan County Mayors to discuss issues of common interest.
The Chamber continued to represent the business community before numerous area groups including the Rowan County Commission, Salisbury-Rowan Economic Development Commission, Board of Education, Tourism Development Authority and area municipalities.
Education remained a high priority for the Chamber in 2012. We paid special tribute to area educators and students by sponsoring the Annual New Teacher Reception, Teacher of the Year Award and Workforce Development Award.
The Workforce Development Alliance continued its efforts in 2012 including the “Geared Up 4 Success Campaign” which encompasses one-on-one counseling with graduating seniors, Website, banners, posters and newspaper and television ads, all in an effort to develop the kind of skilled workforce that the Rowan County business community needs. This group hosted a new Intern and Co-op Event which was very well attended. We also continued to support the Rowan and Cabarrus County STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) workforce development initiative.
The “Leadership Rowan” Leadership Development Program began its 21st year of developing a pool of informed leaders for the many important public and private leadership positions throughout Rowan County. We also continued our support of the very successful Communities in Schools of Rowan County (Stay-in-School) initiative
MEMBERSHIP AND ORGANIZATION DEVELOPMENT DIVISION
Judy Grissom, Division Chair
Committee Chairs –Judy Grissom and Stephen Kidd
The Chamber continued progress in 2012 toward its goal of “Total Organization Excellence”.
The Chamber’s membership development efforts experienced several successful events and accomplishments including the Annual Meeting and the monthly Business After Hours Membership Mixers and Business Showcase. Some 100 members attended Business After Hours each month.
The division also was responsible for member surveys, our award-winning business directory/relocation guide (recipient of the ACCE Outstanding Membership Directory for 2012), monthly newsletter (AT Work), monthly full-page newspaper ad, member broadcast emails, ribbon cuttings, new member reception and other mixers. The organization also awarded the Paul E. Fisher Volunteer of the Year to Tom Loeblein, Healthcare Management Consultants.
The Chamber’s Website (www.rowanchamber.com) was upgraded and includes information on the organization, its members, a relocation guide, Market Space coupons, links, Business Resources and other pertinent data. This year additional information was added including a Chamber Events Calendar, Community Events Calendar and Job Postings. (Like us on Facebook to keep up-to-date on activities and events.)
The Chamber’s facility—The Gateway—continued to serve as a focal point for all of Rowan County. In 2012, approximately 600 meetings were held in the building including Business Seminars, Corporate Meetings and Retreats, Training Sessions, Civic and Social Service Agency meetings and numerous other committees, task forces and boards.
The Chamber’s Finance Committee continued to assist staff and volunteer leadership in preserving the overall financial integrity of the organization.
Bob Wright, President of the Rowan County Chamber of Commerce since 1995, retired effective December 31, 2012. We thank Bob for his 17 years of service to our Chamber.
Thanks to the many, many volunteers who made 2012 an excellent year for the Rowan County Chamber of Commerce.