Having been in Chamber of Commerce Management since 1987, I can assure you that I have seen numerous studies; plans; recommendations and initiatives put forward, most with good intention, others to be completed as an accomplishment of task only. In the spirit of cooperation, our Chamber has participated in numerous meetings and discussions all geared towards efforts for the advancement of Butler County. As chamber members, you should be proud that we are consistently asked for our opinion on these matters, not only as the largest and most influential business advocacy organization, but just as importantly for what we have accomplished and the successful initiatives we have started.
As our Chamber President, I am impressed with the number of Leadership Butler County Alumni involved in these efforts…we have strengthened their mission and have trained many professionals to become engaged and involved in our community from a wide variety of disciplines. Eleven years ago, our board of directors had the foresight to initiate Butler County Young Professionals, and once again at each of these “task force” gatherings I see many of them speaking up representing community organizations and business concerns.
In 2009 our chamber was forward thinking along with the Butler County Tourism and Convention Bureau and Butler County Community College in contracting and completing a Countywide Unified Plan. It may have gathered a light coating of dust, but our brave champion Butler County Community College picked up the gauntlet and convened a new study and in 2015 the Butler County Growth Collaborative, One Voice – One Goal was unveiled.
In 2016 Butler County residents elected an interested, enlightened and involved Board of County Commissioners who took the charge of unification and elevated it to the intended goal. By hiring a Chief of Economic Development and Planning, they not only solidified their commitment to the joint plan but established the quarterback and “team frame” for the continued “game” of collaboration.
From one perspective, you can say that our work is always just beginning. From a factual perspective, you can be assured that our work is continuing to progress towards success. We have earned the respect of all the key players in this game. Our Butler County Chamber of Commerce has remained a consistent common thread in all these initiatives, and of that you can be proud as I am proud of being your spokesperson. We will continue to remain involved in these efforts, while remaining true to our mission of promoting our membership and Butler County. We will continue to partner not only with the above-mentioned organizations, but with regional Chambers of Commerce, Business, Educational and Networking Organizations to provide the best service and programming opportunities to our community.
Our newest affiliate, Butler County Youth Leadership Program, is now in its second year and has the endorsement of all the Butler County Area School Districts as well as North Catholic and Portersville Christian. Their board has successfully partnered with Butler County Community College and Slippery Rock University to provide a curriculum to High School Juniors that fills many gaps in professional and entrepreneurial development as recommended by the educational administration. Overseen by Leadership Butler County Alumni and regional professional partners, this program continues to provide participants exposure to issues, resources and opportunities for service in the Butler County area. It educates them on the concept of “community leadership” and skills required of an effective community leader. It also ensures that graduates become enlightened, proud and contributing members of the community.
As you read through this publication, I am sure you are proud of our cooperative events and activities that you participate in and that your employees benefit from. I want to remind you to also be aware of the larger perspective, as your new Board of Directors and Officers lead you into the future of collaboration….One Voice… One Goal for Butler County and proudly display your “Proud to be a Member – Butler County Chamber of Commerce” sticker and at the same time congratulate yourself on your continuing commitment to our business community.