graphicINVESTING IN TUCSON’S FUTURE SINCE 1902

THE HISTORY

The Tucson Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce is the single business organization that has served Tucson with strength, integrity and purpose for virtually the entire 20th century.

Actually, the Chamber’s roots extend into the 19th century as the Tucson Grocers Association; it then assumed the name of the Traders’ National Protection Association. In 1896 it was called the Tucson Board of Trade. The name "Tucson Chamber of Commerce" was adopted in March 1902, and in 1978 it was renamed the "Tucson Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce."

At the first meeting of the Chamber of Commerce in 1902, the group of business leaders organizing the Chamber raised $2075 in pledges. L. H. Manning assumed the role of president and was quick to respond to the needs of the local business community.

By the year 1907, the Chamber played an important role in increasing Tucson’s growth and in increasing construction projects. As a result, the property values increased 25 percent over the 1906 figures.

In 1918, a Chamber of Commerce committee worked for a gravel road from Tucson to Casa Grande. That same year, the Chamber endorsed a Pima County bond election asking for money for construction of the Mt. Lemmon Highway, the Casa Grande Road, the Borderland Route, and several others.

During the 1950’s, the Chamber worked with the City of Tucson in areas such as annexation, flood control, looking for other sources of water supplies for the city, and addressing dust control.

In the late 1970’s, the Chamber pressed to develop a new long-range transportation plan and it supported a gas tax to fund the plan. The Chamber’s assistance and involvement played a critical role in the Kolb Road extension through Davis-Monthan Air Force Base.

MILESTONES

• In the 1920’s, the Chamber spearheaded a drive to establish the first municipal airport in the United States and a government landing field, eventually known as Davis-Monthan Air Force Base. At the beginning of a new decade in 1930, a Chamber project successfully expanded airmail services to Tucson.

• The year 1925 marked the first "Fiesta de los Vaqueros," the Tucson Rodeo and Parade sponsored by the Chamber. The Tucson Rodeo Committee and Parade Committee were spun-off from the Chamber into independent organizations in 1985.

• By 1931, the Tucson Chamber of Commerce consolidated with the Sunshine Climate Club into one entity, with the Sunshine Climate Club assuming the role as the publicity department of the Chamber.

• Economic development was also on the Chamber’s 1931 agenda, as it promoted Tucson to various industries, encouraging them to come to the city and locate on the various land sites available for industrial development.

• The Chamber-sponsored World Trade Fairs in 1988 and 1989 were the most comprehensive international events in the Southwest, giving participants the opportunity to present and promote their products, services and activities.

• In 1956, the Chamber determined that Tucson’s Mayor was being paid too little for the work he was doing and placed an item on the ballot to raise that salary to $6,000 per year.

• In 1983, the Chamber spearheaded the "Citizens for Fair Pay" campaign that again successfully raised the salaries for the Mayor and City Council members to more equitable levels.

• The Chamber pressed for changes in the Sign Code in 1978 and continues to monitor Sign Code enforcement and Sign Code Board appointments, thus helping to ensure that the code is fair and equitable to small business owners and operators.

THE CHAMBER TODAY

MEMBERSHIP AND COMMUNICATIONS DIVISION

LONG RANGE OBJECTIVE

Continue to expand and retain membership and develop the financial base to achieve Chamber goals. Continue Chamber communications networks with members as well as work with local media to promote the Chamber and the services it provides.

LOS COMPADRES

Conduct ongoing membership contact programs to include survey interviews and re-evaluation of Chamber investment. Be available for groundbreakings, grand openings and other activities.

GOVERNMENTAL AFFAIRS DIVISION

LONG RANGE OBJECTIVE

Encourage efficient and effective government by developing, studying and promoting issues that create a climate in which business and the community-at-large can thrive. Monitor governmental affairs at the local, state and federal level. Take positions on issues that further the mission of the Chamber. Promote and expand effective communication with the Chamber membership, community-at-large, and with representatives of government and education.

STATE GOVERNMENT COMMITTEE

Develop, solicit, and study recommendations for state governmental action that enhances the climate for business in Arizona. Review existing proposed state governmental measures, including regulations, initiatives and referenda, and analyze their impact on the business climate. Make recommendations for action by the Chamber Board of Directors. Coordinate Chamber state governmental efforts with other organizations and public officials.

LOCAL GOVERNMENT COMMITTEE

Develop, solicit and study recommendations for local governmental action that enhances the climate for business in Pima County. Review existing and proposed local governmental measures, including regulation, initiatives and referenda, and analyze their impact on the business climate. Make recommendations for action by the Board of Directors. Coordinate Chamber local governmental efforts with other community organizations. Confer with public officials and representatives from other communities in the greater Tucson area on issues affecting the business climate.

CANDIDATE EVALUATION COMMITTEE

Interview candidates and analyze their background, qualifications and postures with respect to Chamber issues affecting the membership. Disseminate candidate positions to members. Report the results of the candidate evaluations to the Chamber’s Political Action Committee.

ENVIRONMENT, LAND USE & TRANSPORTATION

COMMITTEE

Develop, study and recommend policy addressing the issues of transportation, land use and the environment that combine to promote positive, orderly growth in the greater Tucson area. Coordinate Chamber efforts with other local organizations and political subdivisions. Exercise leadership and create dialogue to address divergent community views.

ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT DIVISION

LONG RANGE OBJECTIVE

Provide programs that focus on the needs of business, both large and small, and address regional business concerns. Develop programs that promote the Tucson metropolitan area as a center for global trade and investment. Actively lead business retention, expansion and creation efforts and assist in recruitment efforts where necessary.

BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT COMMITTEE

Continue to foster a preeminent business expansion, creation and retention program by regularly gathering information on the needs of business as well as design programs to address those needs. Address issues relating to key expansion, creation and retention efforts through outreach and education. Provide an information funnel to appropriate Chamber committees, community agencies and individuals for further action as necessary.

CABALLEROS DEL SOL

Identify specific opportunities for increasing trade between Tucson and other communities during the development and planning of trips focusing on avenues of trade relations and goodwill. Increase the visibility of the Tucson area and the Tucson Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce in U.S. and foreign cities, emphasizing its economic and business attributes.

BUSINESS EDUCATION PARTNERSHIP

Promote the Chamber’s speaker’s bureau of local volunteers from the business community who visit local schools to talk to students about basic work skills and business life. Also work as a liaison for area schools looking to collaborate with local businesses on partnerships and sponsorships. Recognize the needs of employers and industry as it relates to workforce development in the community through research and surveys done in conjunction with the Business Development Committee.

BUSINESS OUTREACH DIVISION

LONG RANGE OBJECTIVE

Promote a favorable business atmosphere conducive to attracting, sustaining and expanding Tucson’s business base and poise Tucson for success in the changing economic and global climate.

NEW ECONOMY COALITION

To assess the Tucson area’s new economy readiness, earmark areas which may require special attention and identify actions that should be undertaken by the community to effectively deal with issues. The coalition’s ultimate goal is to insure that Tucson’s business community effectively competes in the New Economy.

GOOD MORNING TUCSON

Provide monthly programs to increase informational and networking opportunities for members by presenting topics of timely community interest. Act as a highly visible community program to increase awareness of Chamber programs.

PUBLIC AFFAIRS, EDUCATION AND CULTURAL DEVELOPMENT DIVISION

LONG RANGE OBJECTIVE

Promote an overall community environment aimed at protecting and improving the quality of life; support quality education; and support cultural development for all residents of the greater Tucson area. Foster responsible community planning efforts that protect the community’s distinct attributes and allow accommodation of projected growth.

MILITARY AFFAIRS COMMITTEE

Foster and maintain favorable relations between the military and civilian communities of Tucson. Keep Chamber members informed on the economic impact of the military community in the Tucson metropolitan area.

TUCSON CENTER FOR POLLING AND RESEARCH

Gather timely and pertinent information for all divisions of the Chamber. Create and perform polls and surveys by phone, mail, fax and e-mail on subjects as diverse as member services, political and community issues and issues affecting businesses and economic development efforts. Provide for-fee polling and survey services to the membership and public. Assist with the dissemination of poll and survey results.

 

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