Under the superb guidance of our prior President, Steve Harrell, and that of the 2016 Board, we had had another great year. Thank you for trusting me with the leadership of this great organization – an important asset to SE Volusia Business Community.
We have come out of the great recession and had seven years of increasing profitability. I feel confident that the 2017 Board will continue this trend.
We have great diversity in the 2017 Board – great things will continue to happen. The Board is comprised of local Business representatives encompassing large corporations to small business.
Thanks to the outgoing President and Board for their time and effort we continue to build fiscal strength of the organization. We have a stable membership base and a goal to increase membership in the coming year through existing and new member benefits. We have a super staff. Thank you Ms. Williams and your staff for the job that you do for the membership. You keep the wheels turning. Thank you.
After seven years of rebuilding the organization and in light of the steps we have all taken to improve our business profitability and contribution to the community, we look forward to creating a strategic plan for the next seven years. Steve Harrell has agreed to Chair a committee for planning and capital investment. This committee and plan will be an addition to the program of work for 2017.
We have put a new face on the Chamber, with improvements every year. Our new website is active. We look forward to creating additional member benefits and programs to promote the businesses and our members as we move forward.
We are excited to have a new demographic group. Next Gen is a Chamber program for members who are less than 40 years old – just one of the additions to the benefits in our local community.
The Chamber was firmly established by 1926 with over 2,000 members, but it wasn't until 1932 that the first official charter was adopted. In 1933 construction of a chamber building began using federal funds and in 1934 the new Chamber of Commerce opened.
Throughout the ensuing years, many of the ideas that resulted in progressive milestones for Southeast Volusia originated within the Chamber. The Chamber championed projects such as laying the foundation for better road systems, a stabilized inlet, new and improved bridges, river dredging, a new hospital and golf course for our area.
The Chamber has continued to be the catalyst for community expansion, and has supported many causes to enhance economic growth. Recently, the Chamber petitioned the County Council to reform County Impact Fees related to new business construction, and has promoted referendums in area cities to grant ad valorem (property) tax exemptions to encourage investment in new and expanding businesses.
The Chamber's first official charter in 1932 stated its mission as "promotion of civic, economic, and social welfare of the people of New Smyrna and vicinity..." Half a century later, the Chamber is proud to honor that promise.