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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.

As John Gorham reminded me, one of Ralph’s frequent sayings was “I am the Chamber”. He was a vocal advocate for the Chamber and encouraged other’s to become involved. By saying “I am the Chamber”, he meant that each and every dues paying member was in their own way, the Chamber. Each individual member had a role play to play and voice to speak regarding the direction of the organization. Ralph took this responsibility seriously and was constantly offering suggestions, ideas and opinions on what the Chamber should or shouldn’t be. At times he was a pain in the ass. But we always knew where he stood and while we often agreed with him, on those occasions that we didn’t, he respected the fact that he was given the opportunity to have his point of view heard.

I believe that our Chamber has a very well qualified staff (yes, that was me patting myself on the back). However, as Ralph would often remind me, we work for you. It is not our job to tell you, as members, what we think is best for you. Rather, we rely on you to tell us what you need for your business and then, together we can work to find the best way to develop programs and initiatives to make it happen.

As you know there are many ways to become involved with the Chamber that allow you to bring your voice to the collective table of members. The more people who do that, the more accurately we can direct our programs and advocacy efforts. Yet, even if you can’t take the time to be personally active, you can always call or email me directly with your thoughts and opinions on how we are doing and where we can improve. After all, you are the Chamber.

Ralph passed away July 12th while walking his dog along Marshfield Town Pier. You can read his obituary here.