Blue Ribon Panel to research next big idea

Where will the Aiken Chamber of Commerce and the community be in five years when the Chamber celebrates its 100th anniversary? 
It is a natural question for any organization approaching the century mark – and one that has caught the attention of the Chamber’s 2013 board of directors.
“It’s a simple question but one with all kinds of possible answers,” said 2013 Chamber Chair Steve Wilson, SRP Federal Credit Union.  “We need to look at the big picture and come up with the next big idea, or ideas, for the Chamber and for our community.  It needs to be an idea that builds upon our successes and best practices – one that positively impacts our economy and quality of life,” Wilson said.
Wilson has appointed a 24-member blue ribbon panel to research and make recommendations for that next big idea, or ideas.  The panel will be chaired by the Chamber’s Immediate Past Chair Arthur W. “Buzz” Rich, Esq.
“I’m excited about the possibilities the work of the blue ribbon panel will bring,” said Rich.  “I feel that we are ready for the next big idea, or ideas, that will enhance quality of life and economic vitality for our community.  The ultimate goal is to find the next great initiative that will sustain Aiken as a desirable community into the future,” he said.
“We have a good cross-section of people on the panel, and many have expressed great excitement about the research and brainstorming they will be doing.  I look forward to engaging our collective resources to envision new ideas for the community we love,” Rich said.
The blue ribbon panel includes past chairs and current board members of the Aiken Chamber, Aiken Young Professionals (AYP) rising stars, several at-large members, and three ex-officio members.  The panel facilitator is Douglas (Doug) E. Rabold.
The panel will review national studies that rank cities in a variety of ways and see if there are common themes to their success that are missing in Aiken. The group, composed of some of Aiken’s best strategic thinkers, will be looking for best practices, innovation, and programs and/or projects that could add quality of life and/or economic value to the Aiken community.
The volunteer panel will conduct its work in 2013. In August, it will recommend ideas to the Chamber Board for implementation in 2014 and beyond.
“We all want what’s best for our community now and in the future. A bright future should never be assumed, so we must always pursue it through careful planning.  The Aiken Chamber has begun this important process,” Wilson said.
Blue Ribbon Panel

Scott Ansede
Chief Operating Officer
Aiken Regional Medical Centers

Beverly Clyburn 
Retired City Councilwoman
City of Aiken

David B. Cozad 
Retired Pastor

Patrick (Pat) D. Cunning
Woodside-Aiken Realty

Timothy (Tim) N. Dangerfield 
TD Consultants, LLC


Paul Dusenbury

Gemma K. Frock, Ph.D
Vice President of Education and Training
Aiken Technical College

Pam Gleason 
Editor & Publisher
The Aiken Horse and The Dog & Hound

Teresa Haas 
Director, Government and Community Relations
Savannah River Nuclear Solutions, LLC

Thomas L. (Tom) Hallman, Ph.D 
Distinguished Chancellor Emeritus
University of South Carolina Aiken

Mallory H. Holley 
Executive Director
Community Medical Clinic of Aiken County

Clifton T. Jones,  Ph.D
Dean, School of Business Administration
University of South Carolina Aiken

Christine (Chrissa) M. Matthews 
Daybreak Adult Care Services

Catharine (Catie) E. Rabun
Development Associate 
Hammond's Ferry

Arthur W. (Buzz) Rich – Chair

Linda J. Strojan 
Senior Counselor
Aiken High School

Theresa Swafford
Area Manager

John C. (Chris) Verenes 
Chairman and CEO
Security Federal Bank

Will Williams,
Economic Development Partnership

Keith Wood 
Director of Public Affairs
URS Corporation

Ex-Officio Members

J. David Jameson 
Greater Aiken Chamber of Commerce

Ron Shepherd 
Aiken Brokerage TMC Manager
UPS Customs Brokerage

Steve Wilson 
Vice President of Branches
SRP Federal Credit Union


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