Chamber of Commerce has high hopes for 2009

David Maurer<p>
CEO, Prescott Chamber of Commerce

David Maurer<p> CEO, Prescott Chamber of Commerce

On behalf of the Prescott Chamber of Commerce and its more than 1,000 members, I wish you all a very Happy New Year! There is no question that many local businesses struggled through last year, but there is hope for the beginning signs of economic recovery in 2009. The Prescott chamber will continue to do its work in helping to create a strong local economy.

Chamber Leadership

The Prescott chamber's policies and programs are established and supported by a 14-member board of directors made up of community business leaders. Greg Sober (Time Plus Payroll) has been elected chairman of the chamber's board of directors for 2009. Sober joined the board in 2006 and was recently elected to a second three-year term. The chairman-elect position will be filled by Mya Beckley (Residence Inn by Marriott). Other officers include Lenora Nelson (Bennett Oil Co.) as treasurer and Karen Rizk (National Bank) as past chairman. A fifth at-large seat on the executive committee will be filled by Ken Lain (Watter's Garden Center).

Chamber Annual Meeting

You'll hear more about the chamber's plans for 2009 at our annual meeting Thursday, Jan. 29, noon to 1:30 pm, at the Prescott Resort. The chamber's highlights from 2008 will be reviewed and a preview of 2009 programs will be offered. This year's keynote speaker is Daron Sutton of the Arizona Diamondbacks. Sutton is the television play-by-play announcer for the Diamondbacks, and he'll give our guests an inside look at running a Major League baseball team. The annual meeting is being sponsored by BlueCross BlueShield of Arizona, APS and Qwest. Another highlight of the event will be a special tribute to three businesses celebrating their 50th anniversary as chamber members: APS, A&B Sign Co., and J.C. Penney Co. The lunch meeting is open to the public. Pre-paid reservations can be made online at the chamber website, www.prescott.org, or by calling Anne at the chamber, 445-2000, ext. 114. The cost to attend is $40 per person for the general public or $30 per person for chamber members.

Chamber Legislative Agenda

The working relationship between the six chambers of commerce in the Central Arizona Chambers Coalition has strengthened this year with the adoption of a combined list of legislative priorities for the 2009 session. In addition to the Prescott chamber, the coalition includes the chambers of Prescott Valley, Chino Valley, Sedona, Cottonwood and Camp Verde.

Last year, the coalition hired a Phoenix-based lobbyist to represent the chambers on a part-time basis. Courtney LeVinus of Capitol Consulting is the designated lobbyist for the coalition and provided weekly updates to the chambers during the last session, as well as speaking to legislators on our behalf as needed.

This year, significant effort was put into establishing the group's legislative priorities, beginning with a gathering of the state's chambers in Prescott this past August. Topics covered in the platform include tourism, transportation, business development, education, healthcare, initiatives, energy and affordable housing. The complete platform will be published prior to the start of the legislative session in January. It should be noted that the Camp Verde Chamber decided not to participate in the legislative program of the Central Arizona Chambers Coalition, but does participate in other coalition activities.

New Members

The Prescott Chamber is pleased to welcome the following new members: American Boot & Shoe Repair; Chamberlain Architect Services,Inc.; Communication Skills for Life Inc.; Desert Sky Media; Dewey-Humboldt Farmer's Market; European Auto Technicians; HR Quotes; Lazok.com; Mid-Life Construction LLC; Northern Arizona Tumor Institute; Rooster's of Prescott LLC and TLC Employee Group Benefit Specialists.