2023 3rd Quarter Update
The summer was invigorating for YOUR Union County Chamber. We had an impactful sold-out Leadership Summit, and saw many successes with our Legislative Agenda.
The Chamber team also grew both in size and in professional development as we maintain our focus on continuous improvement for us internally, for our members, and for our community.
Read on to see your membership at work.
CHAMPIONING BUSINESS GROWTH
Leadership Summit Stresses Need for Collaboration/Cooperation
More than 130 Chamber members, elected officials, business and community leaders gathered at the Union County Agricultural Center in September for the first annual Leadership Summit, and left with a renewed desire to help champion the best growth for our community.
The Summit included a Keynote Presentation from Doug Griffiths founder and Chief Community Builder for 13 Ways Inc. Doug is a former elected official from Canada, author, and now leads a company focused on helping communities across North America overcome challenges holding them back.
YOUR Chamber invested in bringing Doug in because we believe this is one of the most important conversations we can have.
As Chamber President and CEO Pat Kahle shared, “A widely diverse business community, leading in agribusiness and manufacturing in our state, has helped our community prosper in good economic times and weather the storm better than our peers in challenging economic times. We all know sustained, high levels of growth bring opportunities and challenges. How we, the leaders of our community, plan for and manage through those opportunities and challenges will determine not only our future success, but the success of our community for generations to come.”
In his presentation, Doug highlighted what he called “the plague of 21st century for communities”… lack of collaboration. He shared many stories of communities that couldn’t overcome challenges and grow due to a lack of collaboration. According to research from his team, site selectors from busineses looking to expand would often send representatives into school board meetings and town council meetings, and if the leaders weren’t collaborating and cooperating, they would not invest there.
Betsy Lamb is the owner of Nothing Bundt Cakes in Marvin and Monroe. She was impacted by the discussion around collaboration. “Collaboration and cooperation are key to the success of the community. Union County Chamber strikes again! Bringing together community leaders and business owners for the betterment of our community.”
PUBLIC POLICY COMMITTEE WORK
Legislative Agenda Successes in the NC General Assembly Session
After several delays, the North Carolina General Assembly passed a budget that included several wins championed by YOUR Union County Chamber. The three main tenants of the Chamber’s Legislative Agenda are focused on:
» Adequate, cost-effective infrastructure
» A trained, available workforce
» Opposing taxes and regulation that hinder business growth.
The state budget imposed an increased registration fee for electric vehicles, and new fee for plug-in hybrid vehicles to help offset dwindling revenues from the gas tax which funds investment in transportation in NC. This change aligns with our Legislative Agenda priority that states:
The Chamber recognizes the need for a well-maintained, interconnected road network. In light of declining revenue from the gas tax and uneven allocation of funds, the Chamber supports efforts to reform the funding model for road maintenance and construction by considering alternative revenue sources.
Another positive outcome tied to our support for infrastructure was the $26 million the legislature appropriated for sewer expansion, as well as $1.5 million for the Waxhaw Greywater System Project.
The Legislative Agenda outlines the Chamber’s support of policies that:
provide a trained, available workforce for all business and industries including future expansion in Union County…and remove barriers to work including efforts to make childcare more accessible and affordable for parents who wish to work.
To that end, the budget creates a shared childcare pilot program called Tri-Share. It is a public-private partnership to share the cost of childcare equally between the employee, the employer, and the state.
Also, along the lines of workforce development, the budget establishes workforce development programs, including the short-term Workforce Development Grant Program, which provides grants of up to $750 per course, for students enrolled in non-credit short-term workforce training programs in high-demand fields. It also added an elective course created for middle school students to study career pathways and requires all middle and high school students to complete a career development plan.
The state budget includes a new franchise tax structure that is a step in the right direction of the Legislative Agenda’s stance on eliminating the franchise tax.
The Chamber supports efforts by the North Carolina General Assembly to eliminate corporate and business income taxes, including the franchise tax.
You can learn more details about the State Budget from Public Policy Consultant Brian Francis in the videos below.
CHAMBER TEAM UPATES
Sydney Baker Joins the Chamber as Programs and Events Managery
The 3rd quarter also saw YOUR Chamber Team grow both in size, and professionally. In July, YOUR Chamber added Sydney Baker to the Team. Sydney is a 2023 graduate of Wingate University. She took over the role of Programs and Events Manager.
In her new role, Sydney will manage Chamber programs including Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, Emerging Leaders, Leadership Union, Women in Business, and more. She will be the principal planner for Chamber events.
Originally from the High Point area, Sydney is excited to serve businesses in Union County, saying “I am looking forward to seeing ideas come to fruition, the work come together, and how that impacts businesses.”
Chamber Invests in Professional Development
In June, Director of Communications and Special Projects Jessica Rielly attended the second week of training at the Institute of Organizational Management. This program helps equip and educate Chamber and Association employees to better serve their members and their communities.
IOM is a program of the U. S. Chamber of Commerce.
“It was designed to enhance individual performance, elevate professional standards, and recognize association, chamber of commerce, and other nonprofit professionals who demonstrate the knowledge essential to the practice of nonprofit management.”
In August, Director of Business Development Phillip Faust attended the Basic Economic Development Course in Atlanta, Georgia. He gained information and connections that will help him and YOUR Chamber in our work to champion business growth and prosperity throughout Union County.
Chamber Member Survey
In August, YOUR Chamber sent out the 2023 Annual Member Survey. We are focused on continuous improvement, and this survey, and the ones sent after every event, are vital to those efforts. The team is still processing the results, and we will have more details to share in the future. In the interim, we can share a few highlights.
YOUR Chamber received an overall rating of 4.8 out of 5 for overall satisfaction. We are grateful for your trust in and support of our efforts to champion business growth and business prosperity throughout Union County.
We also asked members to share the top challenges facing their business today. According to your feedback, the top three challenges are:
1. Workforce Challenges
2. Marketing/Generating Awareness
3. The Economy
Thank you to the Chamber members who took the survey. If you weren’t able to, we would still love to hear your feedback. Please feel free to call (704-289-4567) or email your Chamber (firstname.lastname@example.org) at any time with comments, suggestions, or thoughts.
Nonprofits are vital to the success of a community, and YOUR Chamber is proud of our efforts to champion their success. Creating an engaged, diverse, and active Board can be a challenge for many nonprofits. This summer, we held 2 separate events to help attack that challenge from both sides.
In July, the Emerging Leaders attended a workshop on How to Be a Great Board Member. Attendees learned the how to join a nonprofit board, what specific skills are needed to be an effective board member, and why board service is important.
In August, we hosted the annual Nonprofit Workshop focused on Solving Nonprofit Painpoints. We had experts in the field of fundraising, HR, and Boards share practical insight into each of those areas.
If you are looking for a nonprofit to support, you can find a list of Chamber member nonprofits here.