Headline News

21
Aug 2012
FROM THE DESK OF THE CHAIRPERSON OF THE BOARD
VALERIE RAPP
 
Without the Greater Medina Chamber of Commerce?!!!!
 
It would be difficult to imagine a business community functioning without the support of its local chamber.   More importantly, one would wonder how many businesses would choose to locate in the Medina area, and remain, without the commitment and support of our Greater Medina Chamber of Commerce.  In a world of negativity, where it is so easy to point out the shortcomings of others, but not address where the problem truly lies, the presence of our Chamber contributes to a positive community.
 
 I was reminded by our newest board member, Kathy Breitenbucher, “It would be like when Clarence, the angel, shows George Bailey what the world would be like if he hadn’t been in it.  The movie, It’s a Wonderful Life, gave us the opportunity to see how one person’s life affects so many other.”   One would wonder how many successful businesses would be where they are to today if it were not for the involvement and support of the “our” Chamber.                  
 
On July 27th, the Greater Medina Chamber of Commerce board of directors met for its mid-year retreat.  During that half day meeting, the reflective question, “What would it be like without the Greater Medina Chamber?” was asked by Don Simmons, one of the board’s ex-officios.    This is a great opportunity to share some collective thoughts from our informative board members regarding the lack of our Chamber’s presence.  While this question could be viewed from a negative perspective, the responses were totally turned around and the positive comments emerged because “There is a Greater Medina Chamber of Commerce!”
 
Below are some collective replies for our board of directors and ex-officio members.  Please read and be proud of these individuals who are representing you, our members, and your business.  The Greater Medina Chamber of Commerce could not be in better hands.  (These are their actual replies.) 
 
  • Jim Gerspacher – Gerspacher Real Estate Group
The Chamber has continually been behind or leading many significant economic development efforts for the City and the County.  Certainly without the support of the Chamber acting as a catalyst the fiber project may never have come to fruition.  The Chamber was the rallying point to raise funds for the feasibility study that gave life to the project.  And they have continued to be supportive during the 12 year journey to implementation.
 
  • Chad Wilson – Rapid Marketplace
For me, the Chamber gave life to the start of our business 11 years ago. In our first year of existence, we joined and became active in the Medina Chamber. This lead to so many opportunities in the community and allowed us to expand our staff. The Chamber and its membership were supportive and encouraging from the beginning. I’m not sure we would have gotten our feet off the ground without the Chamber.
  •  Keith Hughes -  Dyer, Hughes, Roche & Wilson, Inc.Being an active member of the Chamber is the key, in my opinion.  Doing so allows members to:
 
1.       Network with local businesses – this will result in gaining new customers, aligning with key centers of influence within our community, partnering with other service providers that can help our customers
2.       Have a voice and impact on how business is done in our community
3.       Be informed on legislative updates, political issues and economic development initiatives
 
Without the Chamber, our local businesses would have to each do their own work in terms of understanding legislative issues, economic development matters, being informed on how to run and grow their business.  Our members can benefit from our Chamber who does a lot of that work and avoid the redundancies that would otherwise take place by everyone doing it themselves.
 
Bottom line: businesses in the Greater Medina area are fortunate to have a Chamber that is as proactive and informed as ours.
               
  • Delmar Jones – Jonesy’s Classic Cleaners
Why the chamber has been successful is for two reasons: dedication/commitment of your board & chamber staff…they’ve all demonstrated passion to their roles unique to many of the boards I’ve seen overall. Medina is a great package overall for their citizens & businesses…you have to have a group that can help in the leadership of the shared vision of many who reside here.
 
View without the Chamber: Difficult to imagine… this group is the focal point for showing support towards its members and can be the voice/push needed from time to time from government to small business leaders to stay on task and make things happen to support the local area.
 
  • Michael Baach – Philpott Rubber Company
Without the Chamber. . .
 
Company owners, managers and employees alike would lose an important point of access to government officials that allow us to help shape public policy.  We would also lose a key vehicle for holding our government representatives accountable for their actions as they relate to support of our business community.
 
  • Jim Bigam – Medina Hospital
For me, the Chamber is a living and breathing organization with our hands on the pulse of our member partners and their best interests constantly on its mind.  We are not just a membership.  We are not just a status symbol; we are not just a name.   We are the thread that has weaved itself into the fiber of our community.  We are not just an organization; we are a real part of our community.
 
  • Larry Johns – McJak Candy Company
In my opinion, the most important benefit of the Chamber is maintaining an ongoing dialog with the state and federal governments. Particularly with the current anti-business tone in the executive branch of the federal government, it is critical that we keep the concerns of small, local businesses in front of our legislators. The Chamber does this by hosting business tours for elected officials and with the Columbus and Washington trips.
 
 
  • Kathy Breitenbucher – The Pedestal Group
For me, what we would lose without the Chamber are the innovative programs that are brought here and piloted until they are spun off into entities of their own.   Leadership Medina County, Economic Development, and now YEA are so amazing and have such an influence on so many, it is important to remember they all started with the Chamber!
 
  • Amy Demlow – Critchfield, Critchfield and Johnston, Ltd
The Greater Medina Chamber of Commerce provides a strong voice for businesses not only locally but at the state and federal level.  The Chamber symbolizes the adage “There is strength in numbers.”
 
  • Dave Mueller – BPR/Rico Equipment, Inc.
When I joined the Chamber years ago, I joined because I thought it would be a show of support for other local small businesses in our community as well as an opportunity to meet fellow business owners who shared similar business goals.  Reflecting back, the Chamber has been exactly that but to my surprise – much more.  The Chamber has been a facilitator between the local schools and business owners on taxation issues resulting in what I consider to be a win/win for property owners and the schools.  The Chamber has helped educate the community on the controversial issue of horizontal-fracking by recruiting college professors to speak on the subject in our community. 
 
  • Mark Williams – Williams on the Lake
I just think of all of the groups that wouldn't exist without the Chamber, i.e. YPA, YEA, Safety Council, Main Street Medina, the Ice festival, etc. This is a telling (recent) history of our Chamber's efforts in our community.
 
  • Don Simmons – Simmons Brothers Corporation
Needs for Business:
 
            A Voice of Business:
 
1.  In the community - information on what business means to the residents:
                       A.  Job Creation
                       B.  Taxes Paid
                       C.  Availability of business people to serve on boards and commissions in the community.
                        D.  Community involvement with sponsorships of youth and adult activities.
            2.  With the schools -
To work constructively with all levels of educational institutions:  from elementary - high school, college, vo-ed, and tech training - to meet the needs of businesses in the area to provide a work force relevant to the jobs available.
            3.  With Governmental entities:
                        Federal - Trip to Washington and meetings with congressmen.
                        State - Meetings with legislators.
                        Regional - NOACA and others
                        County - Commissioners, Engineer, Building Department
                        Local - City, Township, Zoning, Planning
All levels of government officials need to be constantly updated with education on business needs.  Schools too.
 
It was because of these needs (and others) that a group of members chose to save the Chamber back in the mid-60's.  We all knew that individually it was impossible to have a voice of business in our community, but collectively, we could at lease make an attempt to be heard and give an audience to our concerns and suggestions.
 
   Was it worth it?  Did it work?
 
With a number of dedicated boards of directors since that time, and the often times inspired leadership of Bill Henschel, Gene Morris and now, Debra Lynn-Schmitz, the Chamber continues to address most of the needs listed above.
 
             What would it be like without the Chamber?  Don't ask.
 
As you can see, it is an honor to serve on such a positive thinking board.  These are passionate, successful, well-informed people who live and work in our community.  They are educated not only on the local level, but on state and federal issues as well and their dedication to you and your business begins with their commitment to the success of the Chamber.  Can you imagine the Greater Medina Chamber of Commerce without them?  I cannot.
 
Speaking of touching people’s lives, the directors and ex-officios of the Greater Medina Chamber of Commerce would like to welcome our newest board member, Kathy Brietenbucher. Many of you may already know Kathy.  If you do not, I would encourage you at the next membership meeting to introduce yourself.  With her knowledge and limitless energy you will immediately understand why we are looking forward to her board participation in the coming years.    
 
 
Respectfully submitted,
Valerie L Rapp
Chairperson of the Board of Directors 2012
Posted by Susan Murawski on August 21, 2012 at 2:16 PM
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