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Stay Informed with the HRLC

Paid family leave, minimum wage, independent contractor versus employee, exempt versus non-exempt employees, Affordable Care Act, and on and on. If your head is spinning from all of the employee-related issues your business faces, then you should become familiar with the Neponset Valley Chamber of Commerce’s Human Resources Leadership Council (HRLC). The HRLC is a group of Chamber members with a wide range of Human Resources expertise that they make available to other members of the Chamber. Let’s face it, most of us simply do not have the time or the inclination to stay current on the ever-changing rules relating to employment issues. However, the penalties that come with being non-compliant on these rules can be stiff and cripple a small business. And ignorance of the regulations is no defense. So it becomes critical for business owners to make sure that they and/or their HR staff are vigilant about remaining up to date on the latest rules and regulations handed to us by state and federal entities. Read more »

NEPONSET VALLEY CHAMBER JOINS CHAMBER SOLAR CHALLENGE

Challenge Helps Massachusetts Businesses Save on Energy and Boost Economic Development More than a dozen Chambers across the Commonwealth, including the Neponset Valley Chamber, are participating in the Chamber Solar Challenge to help local businesses save on energy costs and encourage economic development through solar energy. “The Chamber Solar Challenge provides a great opportunity to help our members cut costs and take advantage of the growing economic opportunities of solar energy,” said Chris Cooney, CCE, President and CEO of Metro South Chamber and Chair of the Chamber Solar Challenge, which was launched in April at the Massachusetts Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives meeting. Read more »

Community Service, Not Lip Service

You may have seen an ad in one or more of our local papers recently with the tag line, Community Service, Not Lip Service. It featured four local banks and the Chamber. The Bank of Canton, Blue Hills Bank, Dedham Savings and Norwood Bank are all long-time members of the Chamber. They are also among our largest financial supporters. Their support does not end with the Chamber however. As community banks, their support is enjoyed by many other non-profit community groups involved in the arts, youth sports, culture, historic preservation and much more. Read more »

Going By the Numbers

A few random thoughts while watching the snow melt, because I refuse to shovel snow in April… 6 million steps! That’s how many steps were recorded by those participating in the Chamber’s Health and Wellness Alliance “Steps to Wellness” challenge after just three days. The competition, which kicked off on April 1st is designed to create a fun incentive for people to get up and walk, or run, or do anything to become more active. During the planning of the challenge, our expectation was that we would have between 50 and 100 participants. In fact, we have more than 300. Congratulations to those who have taken the challenge. We will be monitoring the results throughout April. The challenge ends May 1st and winners will be recognized at a Lunch and Learn seminar on May 18th at the Bank of Canton. Read more »

It’s All About the Synergy

Getting to know new and prospective members of the Chamber is always fun for me, and I was particularly pleased to have several at my table at the Feb. 9 Noon Networking. As we got acquainted and told our stories at Bonefish Grill, it became apparent that there was unusual synergy in our group. Read more »

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. 


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.

Read more »

“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 »

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