I am honored to be serving as your 2013 Chairman for the River Region Chamber. Thank you for this great opportunity. I have been involved on the volunteer side of multiple Chambers for some 20 years. I have always found new and exciting ways to be involved and get the most of my membership. This includes involvement with various events, chairing numerous committees and participating in shaping the positions on issues that affect businesses, large and small.
Your Chamber has hit the ground running! Your Board of Directors has just completed a strategic planning session and held its first Board meeting for the year. I felt that the time was now appropriate to convey a message to our membership. Our Planning session took place over a 2 day period. The theme that I challenged your Board of Directors was to “THINK OUT OF THE BOX” as we evolved the discussions of our 2013 work plan and goals. It was a great session that had great exchange of ideas, topics and discussions that lead us along an empowering path. The results of our two day session identified two major goals. These goals are:
- To improve and enhance our communication to our membership so that you are aware of all the benefits that is associated with your membership and provides you with timely information regarding opportunities for your involvement.
- Membership growth. Chambers of Commerce is all about membership. Our current retention rate is extremely good with an approximate average of 80% renewal each year.
These two goals have several items associated with them. The committees will be asked to take these two goals and work them into their plan of work for the year.
Additionally, we have re-established the Education Committee to include a specific focus on each education system in the River Parishes. Therefore, if you have an interest in the Education delivery systems of the region, this is an excellent committee to join.
Along the lines of committee activity and these goals, the Executive Committee and Board are working on upgrading the technology in the Chamber office, as well as, review and enhancement of the Chamber website.
The River Region Chamber is excited to be a partner in Economic Development for the region. Through cooperation and collaboration with the three parish Economic Development departments and Greater New Orleans, Inc., we look forward to what lies ahead in job growth and prosperity for our local communities. I strongly urge ALL of our members to stay tuned to the Chamber communications for various announcements regarding opportunities for you to get your business involved in the Economic development that is ongoing and growing in the River Parish Region. We are excited to be the largest business organization looking out for your best interest and are committed to ensuring your voice is heard.
A few key issues that your Chamber is actively involved in on the Federal side are: Regional Approach to Hurricane/Flood protection, US Army Corp of Engineers Reform, Small Business Disaster Reform Act; on the State side: Governor’s State Tax reform.
As Chairman, you can expect to receive frequent messages from me as the year progresses to inform you of your Chambers efforts and your needed assistance. More importantly, we need to hear from YOU, our customer. In closing, I will put the challenge out to you, our membership, “TO THINK OUT OF THE BOX”. Great ideas can get implemented when they are heard. If there is something that you would like to discuss, share an idea, something that you would like to see the Chamber involved with OR an issue that affects business in the River Parishes please contact Executive Director, Chassity McComack at the Chamber or leave a message for me and I will return your call.
Michael Palamone, CEO
Urban Systems Associates, Inc.
2013 River Region Chamber Chairman