Does Anyone Need a Tarantula?
This month I’m sharing an article that I read recently, which talks about the value of Chambers of Commerce. The article was written by Tim Parker , a business writer for Intuit who is passionate about solving small business problems. In the era of email, social media, and texting, local chambers of commerce may seem like dinosaurs. However, these business organizations remain one of the best ways to network with other entrepreneurs in virtually any community. The Intuit Small Business Blog recently asked a few small-business owners how they’ve used their chamber memberships to grow their operations. Based on their experiences, here are five ways that any company may benefit from joining a local chamber of commerce. Read more »
No More TRICs
On Tuesday, December 15th the Three Rivers Interlocal Council (TRIC) held its final meeting at the Neponset Valley Chamber of Commerce offices. More specifically, in my office. Boy, am I happy to see them go! Don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against TRIC, quite the contrary, I see them as a valuable and effective regional group of individuals with whom I enjoy working. Fortunately, participation in the group has increased to the point where it no longer makes sense to conduct their monthly meetings in my modest space. Gatherings that once consisted of 8 to 10 people around a conference table, have swelled to upwards of 15 at times, creating a cramped and uncomfortable meeting environment. Read more »
And the Winner is…
Last month I had the opportunity , along with several other Chamber members, to meet with Senator Mike Rush and his guest, Senate President Stanley Rosenberg. The Senate President has been traveling around the state meeting with local business owners and organizations. They are interested in learning what challenges business people are facing and in what ways the state can be helpful. I took the opportunity to remind the Senators that recent actions by the legislature have not been particularly helpful to business. Raising the minimum wage, the paid sick leave act and universal health care are just a few of the mandates that have hit small business particularly hard lately. I mentioned that each act on its own may not cripple a business, but the cumulative effect can be devastating to a company’s ability to maintain its workforce and remain profitable. Why is this important? Read more »
Save Money by Reducing Health Care Costs
With more than 85% of American workers being overweight, obese or suffering from a chronic health condition, promoting health in the workplace is now more important than ever! Having a healthy workforce enables your company to have: • Happier, more productive employees • Lower healthcare costs & worker’s compensation claims • Less sick days • Better employee retention rates To combat this trend, workplace wellness programs are being implemented in both large companies and small businesses. However, knowing where to start with a corporate wellness program can be challenging. Read more »
Experience China in 2016!
You may have noticed that the Chamber is offering a travel opportunity to China. I was lucky enough to have taken this same trip a few years ago and it was a truly unforgettable experience. For 8 days you are introduced to a wide variety of cultural experiences in a land that is so far removed from what we are used to. The company that runs the trip has been working with Chambers of Commerce across the country for many years and has taken thousands of visitors to China. The accommodations are first-class and virtually everything is included in the advertised price of the trip. In fact, other than purchasing souvenirs, I barely spent any money when I was there. Read more »
You Are the Chamber
While catching up on my emails upon returning from an enjoyable vacation on Cape Cod I was struck by the subject line of one in particular. It was from Chamber member, John Gorham of the Bulfinch Group and it mentioned Ralph Pace. I opened it to discover what I was afraid it might say – Ralph Pace had passed away. Many of you may not have known Ralph Pace, many others did. There was nothing in between. If you had met Ralph once you knew him and you remembered him.
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I myself hadn’t seen Ralph in years, yet I was as saddened by the news as if I had just seen him yesterday. Ralph was the owner of ADJ Group (formerly ADJ Signs) in Norwood Center. He was an active member of the Chamber for many years. He served on several committees including the Board of Directors. I remember many times when I was out prospecting for new members that I would end up at ADJ listening to Ralph talk about the Chamber, politics or the business climate. I always left with something new that I hadn’t know before.
“Youth is Wasted on the Young.”
Calling all Young Professionals Perhaps George Bernard Shaw was being a bit harsh in his assessment of the young. However, I can understand his sentiment as each year passes. Certainly there is much we can all learn from those younger than we and, of course, vice versa. Much has been written lately about the “Millennial Generation”, those born roughly between the early 1980’s through 2000. As this generation infiltrates the workforce they will undoubtedly make their mark bringing their own particular values, work-ethic and culture with them. Depending on what you read this generation is tech-savvy, doesn’t own cars, cares about the environment, carries lots of student debt and consequently, lives longer at home, changes jobs often, is highly educated and values work/life balance. Read more »
Open for Business
My waistline took a beating this week. We welcomed two new restaurants to the area as both the Bonefish Grill and Anthony’s Coal Fired Pizza opened up at University Station in Westwood. Chamber members and staff participated in Ribbon Cutting ceremonies for each restaurant, which of course were followed by a sampling of their menu items. From the shrimp and sushi at Bonefish Grill to the meatballs and pizza at Anthony’s, we were overwhelmed with delicious food and hospitality. Read more »
Transportation Issues in the Spotlight
The region’s transportation system has been under the microscope in the wake of an historic winter. Government leaders, business organizations and transportation advocates have been busy crafting statements, completing studies and planning for a future system that can withstand the hazards of harsh New England weather. The Baker administration responded to the woes of the MBTA by commissioning a study of the agency which proposes, among other things, the creation of a financial and management control to provide oversight of the T’s financial operations. Naturally lawmakers are hesitant to cede control and have questioned several of the study’s findings. Meanwhile the Pioneer Institute, in their own study of the MBTA, was far more critical of the agencies spending and management operations. Read more »
Chamber Members Support Local Veteran’s
I feel like I spent the month of March stalking Charlie DuQuette. Charlie is the Veteran’s Representative for Employment and Training Resources, our local One-Stop Career Center. For returning veteran’s looking to re-enter the work place, there is no better person to work with than Charlie, and of course, our local municipal Veteran’s Services Directors. Our paths crossed three times last month thanks to several members of the Neponset Valley Chamber who are committed to helping veterans get back to work after serving our country. Unemployment rates for veterans continue to remain higher than the general population. Several reports show that despite the training and job skills acquired in the military, young veterans of recent conflicts have generally encountered more difficulty in finding work than civilians. Fortunately government and business leaders are working together to create programs that will bring veterans into contact with employers. Read more »
More Than 250 Chambers Urge Congress to Fund Transportation
The Neponset Valley Chamber of Commerce joined more than 250 local, regional and state chambers of commerce urging Congress to resolve the impending insolvency of the federal Highway Trust Fund, and to pass a long term federal transportation authorization bill. Chambers of commerce know infrastructure investment is an important economic issue. Without a sustainable source of funding, the federal Highway Trust Fund will be in a deep deficit that will require major cuts, or potential halts, in highway and transit projects which would jeopardize much needed economic and job growth in our cities and regions Read more »
Weathering the Storms
My brother lives in Florida and recently visited. He couldn’t leave fast enough. Somehow he managed to get in and out of Logan airport between the first two blizzards we had at the end of January. We love to talk and joke about the weather in New England, but this winter it has been no laughing matter for many homeowners and business owners. The impacts of the weather have been well documented regarding the service of the MBTA, commuter rail and parking in Boston. At the Chamber’s Board of Director’s meeting last week we discussed some of the local impacts and thought it would be interesting to survey our members to see how they fared. The results were interesting and generally in line with our assumptions. Read more »
Associations and Chambers: Who Needs Them?
(the following guest column is included in place of my regular column because the writer does a better job than I could – Tom O’Rourke) Association and chamber memberships in many parts of the country are dwindling. Many organizations have been forced to reorganize. Those in financial trouble may be forced to close or possibly combine with another chapter or group. Years ago companies large and small joined these organizations for a wide range of reasons: 1. Participate in networking events and tradeshows. 2. Get or provide group health insurance for self and/or employees. 3. Access to business information and resources. 4. Increase visibility and sales. A number of things have conspired to make the very existence of these organizations challenging: Read more »
Setting the Agenda for 2015
As we turn the calendar from 2014 to 2015 we are looking forward to a prosperous year for all of our members. There will be some changes in the political landscape with a new Governor being sworn in on Thursday and a new Senate President shortly after that. This presents opportunities and challenges for the business community and it’s important for us to build good working relationships with the new administration. Read more »
Giving Thanks and Giving Back
As we approach the end of the year and enjoy the holiday season there are two things that often come to mind; reflecting back on the year that is closing and thinking about those less fortunate. In doing so, I am always happily reminded how much good the business community does for those in need. One of the pleasures of Chamber work is being in a position to see the positive impacts that businesses like yours make in our communities. Of course there are the obvious benefits of providing jobs, paying taxes and providing needed products or services. However, what often goes unnoticed is the charitable work that businesses and their employees do, very often in a quiet and humble manner. Read more »
- Does Anyone Need a Tarantula?
- No More TRICs
- And the Winner is…
- Save Money by Reducing Health Care Costs
- Experience China in 2016!
- You Are the Chamber
- “Youth is Wasted on the Young.”
- Open for Business
- Transportation Issues in the Spotlight
- Chamber Members Support Local Veteran’s
- More Than 250 Chambers Urge Congress to Fund Transportation
- Weathering the Storms
- Associations and Chambers: Who Needs Them?
- Setting the Agenda for 2015
- Giving Thanks and Giving Back