As we wrap up 2018, we are overwhelmed by the accomplishments of this year. It is not by chance that your Board of Directors, with your financial and volunteer assistance, executed the Chamber’s strategic plan, ensuring that resources are spent with our mission always driving our activities.
Create stronger business to business connections within the Venango Region
Each month, as we approached the monthly publication of VenangoWorks!, our staff looked for stories of our members. We are hopeful that you see your newsletter as your source for business content in our region. We reached out to you but continue to encourage you to contact us with your news that needs to be shared. We’ve explored advocacy issues, introduced leaders from across the region, and invited our partner organizations to contribute to each of the 12 issues published.
Chamber members hosted 12 Business After Hours, 17 teams played in the Chamber Golf Scramble in June, and 100 members relaxed along the Allegheny River at the fall Chamber Steak Fry. Both Oil Heritage Festival and Cranberry Festival were well supported and attended, bringing community members several days of music and fun for all ages. The Annual Awards Banquet in February and FLEX Presents in April continued our proud tradition of recognizing excellence in the region.
Develop the next generation of business leaders for the Venango Region
The focus of the Education Committee this year has been learning, as we seek to strengthen our relationship with local schools. Our goal is to understand how we can assist businesses and educators in supporting one another. The Chamber is often called upon to assist in recruiting businesses for mock interviews, career fairs, and job shadowing. Making these the best possible experiences for all involved is the mission of this committee.
FLEX, the Chamber’s young professionals group, had a year packed with activities that included leadership development, volunteering, and networking. With a growing membership (now more than 85), activities were diverse in scope and time, to meet the needs of a variety of schedules. The monthly publication FYI provides an overview of what they’ve been up to and what’s planned.
Among the most significant accomplishments this year is the launching of Leadership Venango. Thirteen business leaders enrolled in the nine-month program to enrich their knowledge and skills as leaders in their workplace, community, and families. As the class moves across the county, they are hearing from leadership instructors and community leaders, and learning from one another. They are also working in teams to address community issues around education and workforce, with presentations to be given prior to graduation in June.
Be the business information connector for the Venango Region
Early in 2018, we published a newly updated printed map of Venango County and distributed them throughout the region. Despite the popularity of online map programs and apps, visitors and residents continue to request printed maps and members appreciate the chance to support them with advertising.
As the year winds down, Chamber staff look forward to completing a newly updated website, anticipating an early 2019 launch. The website is designed to best promote and support our members, a tool for sharing directly but also redirecting visitors to what they need when best found with a partner organization.
Chambers of commerce have always been recognized as the voice of business and in 2018 that voice was raised, as we reached out to all businesses who are served by the highway between Barkeyville and Franklin and carried their message to PennDOT. Local officials applauded the work of the Chamber and the confirmation of our businesses that we are in a growth pattern and rely on this stretch of highway to continue the positive trajectory.
The Advocacy Committee continues to explore issues that impact our future, looking for every avenue to remove barriers and ensure opportunities are realized.
All of these things occurred amidst a significant staff change, as we said farewell to Dottie Tawney and welcomed Tessa Byham, our new executive assistant. Both ladies, committed to serving our members, contributed to making the transition seamless.
Investment in your Chamber continued, through the significant support of Visionary Members: Webco Industries, Pepro LLC, Roser Technologies, Inc., and Klapec Trucking Co., to support improved infrastructure of an online database, all projects and programs mentioned above, and the assurance of sustainability in the future.
With the addition of new tiered benefits available, we invite you to meet with us to learn how your chamber investment supports those areas most valuable to you. You are also invited to learn more about how you and your staff can become involved in Chamber committees or leadership.
This article was published in the Venango Area Chamber of Commerce’s December 2018 edition of the VenangoWorks! Newsletter.