This past week the Marietta Area Chamber of Commerce board of directors met for a half-day to review our accomplishments and, more importantly, plan for the future. Amid much discussion about the economy and the current legislative climate, the focus was finding ways to better serve our nearly 600 members, ways to improve the business environment, locally and state-wide, and preparing the chamber and our community for the future.
The MACC board of directors is a cross-section of business and professional leaders, with representatives from manufacturing, industry, retail, service, banking, health care, advertising, legal and education. We have representatives from our largest employers and our smallest businesses. Each member brings a unique background and perspective to the board room, essential as they carry out their duties. It is their responsibility to set the overall policy of the chamber and to determine the goals of the chamber.
On our board are Democrats and Republicans as well as independents. They all come to the table to work together and set a direction for the chamber, for 2011-2012 and going forward.
Oliver Wendell Holmes once said, "The great thing in the world is not so much where we stand, as in what direction we are moving."
Going forward is the key. A nimble organization is able to adapt and reallocate resources to meet the needs without abandoning its foundation. With a foundation dating back to 1887, MACC has been part of changes in this community. Many times MACC led the way. At other times, MACC was in a supportive role or a partnership position.
Then and now, MACC promotes and supports the business community through its work on economic development, helping create a public-private sector partnership to focus on initiatives to grow the economic base. MACC is involved in workforce development, creating greater awareness with youth on the importance of education, of getting vocational and technical skills as well as advanced degrees. MACC board and staff work with our elected officials to improve and streamline governmental processes with the goal of making this corner of Ohio a business-friendly community.
For many of our nearly 600 members, MACC is not only the voice of business, sharing a business perspective on legislative issues, but a source of information on legislative matters. Through candidates' breakfasts, MACC provides voters an opportunity to meet and talk to those running for office. We host legislative forums on hot topics each year.
Introducing our officers and executive committee: Tom Betz (Peoples Bank), serving his second year as chairman of the board; Colleen Cook (Theisen Brock), chairing business advocacy; Al Lang (Greenleaf Landscapes), chairing economic development; Beth McNally (Marietta College), chairing communications and technology; Steve Porter (The Washington County Career Center), chairing member benefits and program; Donn Schafer (Settlers Bank), serving as treasurer; David Vendenberg (Microbac Laboratories), serving as assistant treasurer; and our past chairman, Dave Archer (Pioneer Pipe).
The other directors on the MACC board are: Tony Baldwin, A.A. Jewelry By Design; Kin Brewer, Food 4 Less; DeeAnn Gehlauf, Marietta Memorial Hospital; Marty Hansell, Skuttle Manufacturing; Wally Kandel, Solvay Advanced Polymers; Terry Tamburini, Southeastern Ohio Port Authority; Terry Rataiczak, Kinetic Networking; and Mike Williams, Digital Document Solutions-Xerox
It has long been considered an honor to serve on the chamber's board of directors. All of our board directors exhibit a genuine and unselfish interest in the chamber and its mission, which is to represent business by providing leadership that proactively influences government and the community and creates resources, education, networking opportunities and outreach for business. With a strong focus on business, the Marietta Area Chamber of Commerce has served its members since 1887 - first as a board of trade and since 1915 as a chamber of commerce.
Charlotte Keim, CCEO-AP, is president of the Marietta Area Chamber of Commerce, The Riverview Building, 100 Front St., Suite 200, Marietta. Chamber Viewpoint appears every other Monday on Opinion.