As many know, this Chamber is about to embark on a capital campaign – the first in nearly five years. And as part of our pre-campaign feasibility study, our consultants gathered much insightful feedback regarding the Chamber's perceived performance to date and the plans for the future. Our consultants forced the interviewees to rank our program of work in relative importance to them. The results were telling.
Far and away the most important thing we do was identified as Business Development (the retention and expansion of our existing businesses and the recruitment of new retail, commercial, and technology-based businesses).
The next two areas of concern were grouped together closely, but were prioritized well behind business development. Those areas were Workforce Development (all education-related projects to aid in providing a well-trained local workforce) and Community Development (a broad term to describe quality of life issues such as housing, quality education, leadership development, diversity, and keeping our best and
Tackling these issues will be challenging, especially as we operate in the "new normal" economy. However, I believe we are up to the task.
Our Chamber staff is second to none in this state. The new 2014-15 board and executive committee are energetic, visionary community members, dedicated to leading us in this endeavor. Our volunteers serve on numerous committees and task forces of the One Vision, One Voice, One Morgan County plan to address these initiatives. The accumulated wisdom of the community leaders who've paved the way is available to us – we just need to continue to ask for it and to value it.
Finally, we must continue to build on the teamwork we currently enjoy. In a way that is very uncommon across the state, we have everyone at the table working together: city leadership, county leadership, school leadership and business leadership. I think we take that for granted sometime. We here think it's normal. But let me tell you friends, it's not.
It's exceptional and a big part of our success to date and will be vital to our future. Exciting times are ahead for Decatur-Morgan County!
Scott Mayo is the headmaster of Decatur Heritage Christian Academy and currently serves as the chair of the Chamber's Board of Directors.