Gene Bilodeau speaks about the state of the Chamber of Commerce on Tuesday at the State of the County: An Inside Look at Moffat County.

Photo by Hans Hallgren

Gene Bilodeau speaks about the state of the Chamber of Commerce on Tuesday at the State of the County: An Inside Look at Moffat County.

Past to present

Past, future board presidents present accomplishments, goals

— Gene Bilodeau, departing Craig Chamber of Commerce board president, saw the organization make good strides in 2007, he said.

He expects Bryce Jacobson, incoming board president and Daily Press publisher, to facilitate the same attitude in board members this year and continue to make the Chamber serve members as best it can.

The list of gains made by the Chamber in 2007 is not short, or trivial, Bilodeau said during the State of the County on Tuesday. The event is a Chamber-sponsored opportunity for local government officials and other organizations to address the community.

First and foremost in 2007, the Chamber defined its mission statement. Nothing else would be possible or effective without that, Bilodeau said.

It worked through obstacles to foster a good working relationship with the Craig/Moffat Economic Development Partnership and the Moffat County Tourism Association, he said:

"In my opinion, we've done a good job of coming together where those organizations work well together."

It strove to support important community endeavors by entering the political arena, he said:

"It may be dicey, may be dangerous, but, nevertheless, we were voted in to represent the Chamber members, and we need to do that."

And it expanded member services. For the first time, its executive director, Christina Currie, made weekly face-to-face visits to member businesses for direct feedback, Bilodeau said:

"It's been invaluable to all of us."

Jacobson lauded those achievements. He then gave credit to his board for coming together during its January retreat to refocus on its mission and continue to improve Chamber services and community participation.

The Chamber has three goals, Jacobson said: to support economic and tourism development programs, provide quality member services and support public policies that create a viable business community.

"At the heart of the mission is to serve you, our members," Jacobson said.

The board created committees with dedicated board members to ensure the Chamber reaches its objectives.

The government relations committee will improve communication with elected officials, Jacobson said.

"We believe it is important the Chamber be involved in sharing information from the perspective of the local business owner and from the employees that work for those people," he said.

The technology committee plans to help visitors and Chamber members maximize their benefit from the Chamber's Web site.

The member relations committee plans to increase membership by a net 20 percent, Jacobson said.

"That means by the end of this year, we have a goal to increase our membership by more than 60 members," he said. "This is not only important to our financial stability, but to the community as a whole to have entire business sectors represented as members of the Chamber."

The board also plans member education, city beautification projects, and an ambassador program to address social issues, drug use being one such area.

"Mr. Mayor happens to think this is a huge issue, and I happen to agree with him," Jacobson said.

Achieving anything this year is only possible because of Bilodeau's efforts last year, Jacobson added. It will take dedication from the board this year, as well.

"These are our goals," Jacobson said. "I am so proud of this board for setting such aggressive goals."

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