As we near the end of the calendar year and finish up our To Do lists for 2012, I enjoy the opportunity to share with you just a few highlights and accomplishments from the Chamber for this year.
Relationship between Business & Education
Two new business and school partnerships were added to our Partner in Education (PIE) program this year: Pepsi is now a PIE with Parkersburg South High School and Gaskets, Packings and Seals is a new PIE with Parkersburg Catholic High School.
The Chamber was proud to work closely with our Community's Foundation on the Civic Leaders Fellowship Program that placed 15 college students in internships throughout the Mid-Ohio Valley. Students not only benefitted from the work experience, but the program was designed to entice our young leaders to return to the MOV once they graduate by showcasing the employment opportunities, quality of life and ways to connect in their hometowns.
Advocating for the Business Community
First Energy hosted MOV Chamber Day at the Capital during the spring session with over 20 Chamber members. This one-on-one experience allowed our members to connect with our elected representatives, share regulatory and legislative concerns, and to thank them for all their efforts in Charleston on behalf of our business community.
We welcomed U.S. Deputy Secretary of Transportation to discuss transportation needs and issues in the MOV and West Virginia with members of the Chamber and the Area Roundtable.
Working with Workforce WV, WVU-P, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, WV Employer Support for the Guard and Reserve and many wonderful agencies and local employers, we hosted a successful Hiring Our Heroes Job Fair for our veterans and spouses.
Engaging our Members and Community through Programming
Thousands of members had plenty of fun and networking at the 12 monthly free Business After Hours events and 12 monthly free Lunch & Learn sessions. Thank you to all our hosts who graciously offer their time and talents to provide these programs.
We launched a Lunch Mob initiative to encouraged members and the general public to join us on a specified day for lunch to support our member restaurants.
Our Chamber Champions group continues to enthusiastically visit new members and welcome them to our organization. This team celebrates our members' accomplishments with First Dollar Presentations, Grand Openings and Ribbon Cuttings throughout the year. See below in the calendar for a chance to visit two new members!
Matt Tranquil with the Parkersburg News & Sentinel oversaw the Chamber Business Expo, where more than 70 local businesses displayed information about their products and services. This event truly represents our motto: Chamber members support Chamber members.
Thanks to chairperson Karen Henline with Murray Sheet Metal, the Chamber held its first Women in Leadership luncheon in 2012. Over 100 female executives and leaders in our community enjoyed the opportunity to hear from Pepsi executive Sandy Austin-Feltner and State Journal contributor Lynne Schwabe as we came together to "Balance Our Tea Cups."
A break in the chilly weather during the first weekend in October allowed us to have our second annual Great Bowls of Fire Chili Cookoff in the sunshine along the river. A committee spearheaded by Lindsey Anderson with United Bank encouraged over 15 individuals and businesses to enter their chili. The Willows won the People's Choice award with a delicious white chicken chili.
And we wrapped up our special events calendar with the 2012 Annual Dinner and Awards Banquet earlier this month. We spent the evening learning how to "Be Fun to Work With" and honored 10 businesses and individuals for their commitment to our business community.
Of course, none of our accomplishments would be possible without the support of our members. You encourage your employees to get involved by attending and volunteering at the Chamber events. You support our events by sponsoring the activities and donating door prizes. You offer discounts and members-only privileges to fellow Chamber members. On behalf of our board and staff, we are thankful to have our great members and for your support.
Orchid Floral Design Christmas Open House NEW CHAMBER MEMBER, Saturday, Dec. 1, and Sunday, Dec. 2, from 11 a.m.-3 p.m., 3310 Murdoch Ave., Parkersburg, open to Chamber members and the general public to enjoy refreshments, prizes and holiday specials.
December Business After Hours: Tuesday, Dec. 4 from 5-7 p.m., The Blennerhassett Hotel, register at www.movchamber.org
Sam's Club Breakfast for Chamber members: Friday, Dec. 7 from 7:30-9 a.m., Sam's Club, 1100 Grand Central Ave., Vienna, Open to all Chamber members; Sam's Club membership not required. Attend this breakfast to learn more about Sam's Club, get discount on membership renewal and learn more about how to get the most out of your Sam's Club membership.
Kozi Klutter Grand Opening NEW CHAMBER MEMBER, Wednesday, Dec.r 12 at noon, 4421 Emerson Ave, Parkersburg
Join with the Chamber Champions committee to celebrate the Grand Opening of Kozi Klutter and welcome them as a new member of the Chamber.
Visit this space every other Sunday for more Chamber news. We also invite you to call us at 304-422-3588, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, or stop by the Chamber office at 409 1/2 Market St. in Parkersburg.
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Jill Parsons is president/CEO of the Chamber of Commerce of the Mid-Ohio Valley.