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Rowan Chamber of Commerce highlights achievement, looks to future

Rowan County Chamber of Commerce

The Rowan County Chamber of Commerce hosted its annual retreat Nov. 14 at Trinity Oaks. Current board members were joined by the incoming new board members for 2015, representatives from the Gateway Building partners, Pete Teague, chairman of the Community Forum Steering Committee; Dr. Lynn Moody, Superintendent of Rowan-Salisbury Schools; Aaron Church, Rowan County Manager; and the newly-elected county commission members.

Mark Seifel of Schneider Electric and 2014 Chair of the Board presented highlights from the Chamber’s recent accomplishments:

Increased business advocacy work –

• Representing the needs of the business community with positions on education, transportation and economic development

• Conducted successful trips to Raleigh and Washington, D.C.

• Held four Candidate Forums to educate the voters on the 2014 Elections.

• And, we worked with our Gateway Partners on three Community Forum meetings

Improved member services –

• Power in Partnership breakfast meetings with great speakers.

• Leadership Rowan program continues to be strong.

• Ambassadors have stepped up to assist with member ribbon cuttings.

• Affinity Marketing discount programs for members have increased

• Seminars like the Glenn Shepard seminar were well received.

• Numerous networking events: Business After Hours, Speed Networking, New Member Receptions, Women in Business, and now the new Men in Business program!

The big new event this year was the Dragon Boat Race at High Rock Lake – we’ve received very positive feedback on this event and plans are already in the works for Aug. 1, 2015.

Special focus was given to the Community Forum process which was initiated in March 2014. Input from more than 200 business and citizen representatives was collected during the first forum which registered education and economic development as the most critical topics for our community. Two subsequent community meetings have been held — the first meeting was the roll-out of the Rowan-Salisbury Schools new strategic plan, and the second gathering was a Literacy Summit which provided statistical data and a plan to address community-wide literacy issues with support from business and faith-based partners. The next forum will be held in early 2015 and will focus on economic development.

Invited guests representing Rowan County leadership in government, the public schools, and Gateway partners were each given five minutes to share their vision for Rowan County.   Following the facilitated discussion, all attendees participated in break-out sessions to identify the three most important priority projects for attracting new jobs and investments in Rowan County. Feedback from the planning session will be incorporated into the Chamber’s strategic plan for 2015.

Dari Caldwell, President of Novant Health Rowan Medical Center, will take over as Chair of the Board on Jan. 1. Ted Goins, President of Lutheran Services Carolinas, will serve as Chair of the Board in 2016. President-elect Caldwell challenged the group to embrace collaboration and positive leadership and to promote the assets in Rowan County. She referred to a recent visit by N.C. Secretary of Commerce Sharon Decker which challenged Rowan County to ensure that new businesses view our community positively by strengthening our education system, supporting economic development infrastructure, emphasizing arts and culture, building a healthy community, and taking care of our natural resources. Ms. Caldwell stated, “Our time is now!”

The Rowan Chamber is a not-for-profit business advocacy organization with over 850 member firms. The Chamber’s annual “Gala” meeting will be held on Jan. 22 at 6 p.m. at Catawba College’s Crystal Lounge. The official passing of the gavel will be presented during the Annual Gala.

A few corporate sponsorship tables are available for $1,000 with eight seats. Individual tickets are available for $40 per person or $75 for a couple (two tickets). There will not be assigned seating (first come; first served). The reservation deadline is Dec.12. For more information, please contact the Rowan County Chamber at 704-633-4221 or info@rowanchamber.com.

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