State of the Chamber address connects organization’s past to its future |

State of the Chamber address connects organization’s past to its future

Scott Schlaufman
Laurie Ogden receives the Craig Chamber of Commerce's Ambassador of the Year award Wednesday at the State of the County 2011 event at the Holiday Inn of Craig. Ogden has served as an ambassador since 2005. She said it has given her a better knowledge of the businesses in the city. Ben McCanna

Mardi Anson reflected on the past and looked toward the future in her State of the Chamber address Wednesday night.

Anson, the Craig Chamber of Commerce's former vice president, was named president earlier this week, and her address on the organization came during the State of the County 2011 event at the Holiday Inn of Craig.

"This year, the Craig Chamber of Commerce celebrates our 65th year serving this community and its members," she said. "An impressive feat in an area struggling in economic diversity and an occasional victim to boom and bust."

Anson's speech followed one by Joe Bird, a former Chamber president.

Anson's ascension as president was prompted by the resignation of former president Jim Herschberg.

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Anson discussed the Chamber's first meeting in 1946.

"The goals set for the first meeting, attended by 200 residents, included providing a special advertising program, securing a city planning commission, better sanitation and food handling, and publicity and tourism promotion," she said.

Anson said that organizational history played into a recent Chamber proposal to the Moffat County Commission. The Chamber is asking that it be allowed to oversee the county's 1.9-percent lodging tax rather than the Moffat County Tourism Association.

"In the early 90s a campaign was led by the Chamber to institute a lodging tax in Moffat County and was successful," she said. "The Chamber's board of directors agreed that as a community organization it was important for us to offer whatever help was necessary to ensure the money was collected and used and allocated solely for its purpose of marketing Moffat County."

Using member feedback, the Chamber has targeted four goals this year— technology and communications, membership services, marketing the Chamber, and membership retention and recruitment, Anson said.

The technology and communications goal will be achieved by using Internet, social networking and video technology to market the Chamber and Moffat County.

"The committee will develop Internet social networking policies and assess whether certain technologies would enhance the website and contribute to the best possible experience," she said.

Additionally, the committee is working on content for Channel 17, which currently only airs the community calendar.

"By the end of 2011, you'll see several videos that highlight our county including features like winter activities, area attractions such as Dinosaur National Monument, and a focus on our industries, historic sites, personal interviews and more," she said.

Anson said that in addition to improving membership services and doing a better job of marketing the Chamber's services, the Chamber has set a goal to get 61 new members this year.

"Setting a membership goal contributes significantly to the products and services we offer, as well as how we are educating the community about the Chamber, so we expect this goal to have a direct impact on marketing the Chamber and member services," she said.

Anson also used her address to thank Bird for his time as president in 2010.

"We did have a great year and we owe that a lot to Joe's energy," she said. "His leadership and dedication also. Joe didn't step into the president's role, he jumped in with both feet. He had relationship-building meetings, brought us together as a board, and allowed us to know each other personally as well as professionally."

Bird was presented with a plaque thanking him for his contributions.

"He took a strong effective board and made it a strong effective board that enjoyed being together, giving to our community and wanting to achieve more, only the way Joe could do it," Anson said.

Ogden named Chamber's Ambassador of the Year

When Laurie Ogden joined the Craig Chamber of Commerce's Ambassador program in January 2005, it opened her eyes to what Craig has to offer.

"My world was centered around my kids and work," she said. "Since I've become an ambassador, it seems to have blossomed and opened up.

"As a regular citizen you probably wouldn't be aware, unless you needed that service, who was in town. By being an ambassador and going and welcoming them to the community, you have a better understanding of what they do."

Ogden, 48, an account manager for Mountain West Insurance and Financial Services, was named the Chamber's Ambassador of the Year Wednesday night. She previously won the award in 2009.

"I was very surprised," she said of again winning the award.

Ogden serves not only as an ambassador, but also secretary to the Chamber's executive committee.

She said the time commitment to the Chamber is only about two to six hours per month, which usually consists of meetings, ribbon cuttings and mixers.

Ogden said the award is payoff for that time contribution.

"I just feel very honored that the volunteer work I have done this past year has been appreciated," she said. "Sometimes as a volunteer you get kind of disgruntled because you don't feel like you're being appreciated for what you do.

"Sometimes you just need that thank you to (realize), 'Hey, what I am doing really is being appreciated.'"

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