Each November I take the opportunity to reflect (as my favorite holiday, Thanksgiving, approaches) on all the things that I need to be thankful for. Maybe in some way I reminisce because it is also my birthday month, which makes it even more special (or depressing as the years add up) and the changing seasons. Our Chamber of Commerce can be thankful for many reasons — the first and most important is for our thriving and active membership. We remain the best investment any business can make for connecting to a large regional network. Butler County is our home and remains our focus, encouraging relationships and building bridges to the future. Our mission is and remains to support and strengthen the business, professional and industrial communities, encourage the development of new enterprises, and advocate for our membership.

Secondly, we need to be thankful for our longevity and our creativity, 122 years of service to the Butler County business community is nothing to take lightly. We continue to be the leader in business advocacy and promotion. This monthly newsletter is testimony to that fact with a myriad of news, views and events. 2018 saw the continuation of our highly successful recognition of area businesses and organizations. The Celebrate Business Annual Dinner recognized Nancy Reader, Hearth and Home Furnishings, as the William A. Morgan, Jr. Entrepreneur of the Year and Kenmac Rental & Sales, Brian McCafferty, as the Chamber Business Champion. The Butler County Family YMCA was awarded Community Champion for efforts unique and results far reaching in our community. Our affiliates expand our scope of interest and influence into a wide variety of avenues. Our professional development programs, training sessions, legislative action activities have been second to none in the region. We continue to administer Leadership Butler County, Butler County Youth Leadership Program newly added, Slippery Rock Business Association and the Butler County Young Professionals.

Thirdly, I am very thankful for my Executive Board of Officers and the Board of Directors. Elections will soon be upon us and I encourage any member interested in serving on the Board or on any of our committees to contact me directly and add their name to a rather impressive “bullpen” of interested businesses and professionals. Not only is involvement at an all-time high, but so are sponsorships, new ideas and activities. We continue our relationship with the Small Business Administration through S.C.O.R.E. and hold on site Small Business Development Center sessions as well.

Fourth, we expanded our mission, widening our spirit of cooperation and networking by coordinating numerous joint efforts with regional Chambers of Commerce and adjunct organizations. Our Board of Directors strongly believes that it is our duty to assist our membership to thrive in this competitive business climate. It is important that we network regionally, and that we promote regionally. We lunched and “mixed” with the Alle-Kiski Strong, Grove City Area, Mercer Area, Lawrence County Regional, Ellwood City Area, Greenville Area, Beaver County, Pittsburgh North Regional, Shenango Valley Chambers of Commerce as well as the Cranberry Business HUB, Butler County Tourism and Convention Bureau and the Community Development Corporation of Butler County.

Finally, I am thankful for my staff at the Chamber, for without them none of these above-mentioned events and services would be possible. Administrative Assistant, Jennifer Monaco, and volunteer Connie Schwartzfeger manage to keep all our programs, services, publications, correspondence and ideas in tact and organized. As I enter my seventeenth year as your President, I can honestly ask myself and all of you “where did the time go?” We have come so far in our evolution, and I think that it is this change that gives our Chamber its status in the community – receptive to new ideas, willingness to cooperate and a mission that is simple – “Promote our members and our business community.” So, you see that we can have “Thanksgiving” not only at home but at work as well, and I wish each of you the Happiest of Holidays as we end our year on the same high level of success as we have come to expect from our membership and from our Chamber. For my part, I thank you all for your faith in me and for always being there to assist during the rough times and to celebrate the good times together.