MOV Chamber highlights of 2017

“There’s just 2 of you?”

I get that question a lot when asked how many employees the MOV Chamber has in the office.

But you do so much.”

My answer is always, “The work of the Chamber is done by our great members. So the number isn’t 2 — it’s closer to 380.”

Indeed 2017 was another busy and exciting year at the MOV Chamber. And I’m proud to say the work really does get done because our members encourage their employees to get involved, make a difference, and put their stamp on our activities. As a membership organization, the activities and events we oversee fall into 4 areas:

1. Membership Engagement and Programs

2. Advocating for the Business Community

3. Building a Strong Relationship between Education and the Business Community

4. Communications and Promotions

So, let’s recap the significant accomplishments in each category:

1. Member Engagement & Programs

* Over 1100 people attended one of the 11 Business After Hours events this year. Our hosts for 2017 included: Mark Mondo Building & Excavating, Copper Leaf Interiors, Netranom, Matheny Allstate Insurance, Comfort Keepers, Hampton Inn & Suites — Downtown, Sleep Inn Ellenboro, Suddenlink Media, Managers Resource Group, Huntington Bank, Pickering Associates, BB&T and Tall Oaks Event Center. Thank you to each of these members for showcasing their business and welcoming 100+ people into your place of business. The success of these events keeps growing, so much in fact that our 2018 hosts are locked in already.

* Over 150 female leaders attended this year’s Women in Leadership Conference. The theme was Know Your Worth and the speakers focused on encouraging attendees to be assertive and mindful. We are just starting to plan this event for 2018.

* We added a new event to the Challenge Cup activities in 2017 — the Amazing Chamber Chase, a team scavenger hunt in Downtown Parkersburg. Twentyseven teams showed up for a 2 hour trek up and down the streets in Downtown Parkersburg, deciphering clues that led to area landmarks and completing fun tasks at each location. This event is scheduled to repeat in 2018 for sure!

* Attendance continues to grow at our quarterly Sam’s Club breakfasts for Chamber members. This is a super event for those members that often can’t make it out of the office during the work day to attend a Lunch & Learn or Ribbon Cutting.

* And speaking of ribbon cuttings? Would you believe our big blue scissors performed their duty at just shy of 30 ribbon cuttings this year?! This count represents new businesses, existing businesses that relocated to a new space, businesses celebrating a milestone or expansion project. The MOV Chamber big blue scissors needs its own social media — they are that popular!

* We sold out this year’s Annual Dinner & Awards Banquet with 300 attendees on hand to celebrate the 11 award winners recognized at the annual gathering.

2. Advocating for the Business Community

* Nearly 50 Chamber members, elected officials and government contacts enjoyed the day in Charleston for MOV Chamber Day at the Capital during the 2017 Legislative session. Many thanks to our friends at First Energy and the Polymer Alliance Zone for coordinating the speakers and activities at this annual event.

* The Government Relations committee and WWW Interstate Planning Commission invited Governor Justice and the Secretary of Transportation Tom Smith to the Mid-Ohio Valley to learn more about the Roads to Prosperity Bond Amendment. Passage of the amendment took place in October and projects are already starting in our community.

3. Relationship between Business & Education

* 2 New Partner in Education relationships were established in 2017: Da Vinci’s Restaurant — Williamstown High School and East of Chicago Pizza — Greenmont Elementary School

* Over 300 attendees were at the annual Partner in Education luncheon to celebrate the 70+ business and school partnerships.

* A subcommittee of the Chamber’s Schools & Business Committee is exploring if a Job Shadowing program for middle/high school students would be a good way to promote the variety of careers and viable employers in the Mid-Ohio Valley. Stay tuned for more info on this initiative.

4. Communications and Promotions

* We continue to expand the functionality of our website, which was updated and re-launched in 2016. Each week a new member is featured in the Member Spotlight. Joining the Chamber or registering for an event is easily accessed at

* If you aren’t following us on Facebook, you are missing out on last minute updates from our members, photos from our events and special promotions — put this on your To Do List!

Last month our Special Events committee reviewed all of our activities and highlights for 2017 and based on the metrics and return for each event they made the following recommendations for 2018:

* Repeat all the major 2017 events in 2018 (with exception of the “sporty” Challenge Cup competitions which didn’t have increased participation in 2017 compared to the planning and effort involved in coordinating the events — i.e. dodgeball, volleyball, etc.)

* Definitely keep the Boat Ride/Team Trivia and the Amazing Chamber Chase

* Incorporate more Jaycee involvement in events

* Explore adding Lunch MOBs back into the schedule

* Explore “Business Before Breakfast” concept to add programming for members who may not be able to attend mid-day and evening events

* Explore Live Facebook streaming of Lunch & Learns and committee meetings

Looks like WE have a good working To Do List for 2018! And by “we” I mean all the members and their employees who take advantage of the many opportunities to get involved in the success of our Chamber. Just Thursday morning a member stopped by and said, “Hit me up anytime you need an extra hand for an event or committee. I may not be able to help every time, but I want to do all that I can.” Just one more example of why we are thankful to have great current (and soon-to-be!) members that make the 2 employees at the MOV Chamber seem like so many more.

Visit this space every other Sunday for more Chamber news. We also invite you to call us at 304-422-3588, email us at, or stop by the Chamber office at 501 Avery Street in Parkersburg.


Jill Parsons is CEO of the Mid-Ohio Valley Chamber of Commerce.