Chamber leadership team and program of work announced
The Greater Aiken Chamber of Commerce recently announced its leadership team for the upcoming year. A diverse, dynamic group, the board of directors represents a cross section of the Chamber membership and offers a broad perspective on business and community related matters. These leaders will work throughout the year in guiding the organization as it carries out its 2017 program of work.
“What an exciting year we have ahead of us at the Greater Aiken Chamber of Commerce,” said 2017 Chamber Chair Charlie Hartz, Dunkin’ Donuts. “I feel privileged to have such an esteemed group of community and business leaders to work with on our 2017 Program of Work. With this group supporting the Chamber’s goals, we are going to have a positive impact on the economic vitality of the Aiken business community.”
The Aiken Chamber’s 2017 program of work continues its fourth year of a multiyear process that creates viable, proactive mechanisms that become a driving force for Aiken’s prosperity in the 21st century through Economic Vitality initiatives. The purpose of this long-term course of work is to:
- * reawaken and re-engage the general public and business community about the components necessary for business growth and job creation
- * raise awareness that business climate is the #1 factor of a successful community
- * continue a five-year evolving plan that leads to the community’s long-term prosperity through taking risk, rewarding success and growing families
The Chamber believes it is essential for business and the public sector to seek out common ground and to find ways to bolster each other. Policies and practices that help strengthen a free enterprise system are those that do the following:
- * Allow businesses to grow and thrive
- * Free businesses from excessive taxes, unnecessary regulations and onerous local government processes
- * Focus government on the critical tasks that are the foundation of economic opportunity, such as infrastructure and protective services
- * Help educate, cultivate and advance the workforce of the future and the area’s entrepreneurial ecosystem
Key Economic Vitality Initiatives for 2017
Business and Community Development
- 1. The region is projected to have more than 37,000 job openings over the next five years. Filling these openings will require the regional talent pipeline to be well-aligned with high-demand jobs and will require recruiting talent from outside the region. The Aiken Chamber will collaborate with the Savannah River Site Community Reuse Organization, Economic Development Partnership, Aiken County Public Schools, Aiken Technical College and USC Aiken to develop strategies to effectively develop and attract the needed workforce to allow business and industry to flourish. Specific agenda items are:
- * Establish a task force to develop strategies to attract families with children to the area.
- * Cultivate relationships between employment clusters and Apprenticeship Carolina to promote the expansion of youth job-site learning opportunities.
- * Add a job board to the Chamber website to connect members with job opportunities to job seekers.
- 2. Conduct the second Aspirational Cities Tour. The agenda will define the goals of the visit and inspire new ideas for Aiken’s future.
- 3. Add year four to the annual community benchmarking process to aid in community decision making. The purpose of the benchmarking is to measure the Aiken community’s programs, processes, performance, efficiencies, and effectiveness in meeting the current and future needs of the community. This report is done in collaboration with Economic Development Partnership.
- * Establish a task force to review changes to regulations resulting from the 2016 adoption of Aiken’s new comprehensive plan. The task force will carefully review changes and wording to prevent unintended consequences to the business community’s ability to grow and thrive.
- * Plan and prepare for the Chamber’s Centennial Celebration in 2018.
- 1. Implement The Centennial Project – a major investment in the future of the Aiken Chamber to align the 20 year old building’s design and function with the needs of future Chamber members. The interior of the building will undergo appropriate modifications during 2017 to become the hallmark piece of the Centennial Celebration and prepare the building for the next 20 years.
- 2. Roll out a new Aiken Chamber logo featuring a fresh updated look and feel.