Representing the business community for the past year as the Peoria Area Chamber of Commerce Chair has been both an honor and a privilege. As a small business owner, juggling schedules and keeping priorities in check were not new. As a community advocate, staying abreast of the issues—which are vital in keeping our community prospering— has been of keen interest. My perspective on why a business should be a member of the local Chamber of Commerce has grown incredibly over the past year. Often, as members of an organization, we see the value of that membership simply by paying our dues.
And as a small business owner, I have depended on the Chamber to be diligent in the understanding of the broad scope of business issues which affect my daily operation. In the past, I had always viewed the Chamber staff as a behind-the-scene staff working intently to keep members informed of the status of these issues so I would be able to better concentrate on my business and make informed decisions.
During my term as Chamber Chair, my regard for the Chamber staff has gained my utmost respect and praise. This staff has stood tall and handled the gathering of information on the following— just to name a few:
- Organized informational political debates for state and school board races.
- Championed the fundraising initiative for District 150 Truancy Center.
- Supported the marketing effort of District 150’s “Every Student Every Day” campaign.
- Led the creation of the first-ever electricity co-op to assist member companies fighting increasing energy costs.
- Orchestrated employer opposition to the proposed gross receipts tax.
- Premiered the new “Business Showcase” for area companies as an opportunity to network and promote local business.
- Led the discussion and evaluation of the role of cumulative voting for the City Council election process.
- Championed the promotion and development of wireless technology as a vital component of our community’s infrastructure.
The Chamber has been a vital partner in my quest to assure my business stays healthy. As you can see by the above list, the work done by the Chamber certainly plays a key role behind-the-scene for each of us. As the Chamber staff monitors the business climate, they become educated on these issues and subsequently communicate them to all of us. They advocate for us and assist us to be prepared to advocate for ourselves when appropriate. The Chamber has and will continue to advocate at the local, state and federal levels.
I have been and will continue to be proud of the Chamber’s hard work for the entire community—no matter the size of a company. Membership dues to your local Chamber are a worthwhile investment to the success of not only your individual company but also as an investment in the health of our entire business community.
Our community can only be as strong as the commitment of all of us to be involved. As outgoing Chamber Chair, I encourage you to get involved and be a part of making our area an even stronger and more vibrant community. TPW