For over 81 years the Greater Lafayette Chamber of Commerce has played a vital role in enhancing the business environment and the community through the efforts of its volunteers, leadership and professional staff. That role was successfully continued under the leadership of 2012 Chairman Jerry Greig. The year 2012 saw the Chamber engaged directly and through collaboration in the critical issues of the community including education, energy, and comprehensive planning. There were many public successes such as the launch of INNOV8, a series of events promoting and supporting entrepreneurship and technology and garnered national attention.
Our Chamber has evolved into a chamber that does not reinvent itself every year. As we transitioned from 2012 to 2013, we have been engaged in a process whereby we review our current priorities, the current environment and the opportunities. This allows us to reflect on the relevance of our work and the manner in which we seek to accomplish our goals. Our Board of Directors has confirmed and will continue to utilize membership divisions to tackle our priorities including Public Policy, Education, Energy, Innovation and Comprehensive Planning. In addition, we have a strong Finance Division which works with our professional staff to oversee our financial affairs.
Our priorities and divisions are designed with a very clear focus on our mission: “To be a leading force in the improvement of the business environment, the economic development and health and the prosperity of the region.”
Our Energy Division and Education Division continue to be represented with talented volunteers and are playing a vital role in those arenas. There are several initiatives that will receive special attention in 2013.
First and foremost, our role as a leading force in the business environment requires that we have a strong public policy voice. In 2013, we will build on work completed in 2012 to strengthen our voice on behalf of our members and the business community. This will be done by increasing member participation through grassroots programs with policymakers and the community at large. These efforts will be supported by our professional staff and lobbyist. Finally, our membership will have opportunities to become more involved in our political action arm, Empower PAC. Our public policy advocacy programs serve to support our positions on behalf of all divisions and issues addressed by the board of the Chamber. The comprehensive program of member involvement and communication will advance our efforts to represent our stakeholders.
The second issue that deserves attention, because of its significance and of timing in Lafayette, is the comprehensive planning process. The process and the output will play a significant role shaping the future of Lafayette. The plan will address many issues that impact the quality of life in our community and economic development. The Chamber’s members and leadership will be engaged in this process in 2013 and expect to play an important supporting role.
A third issue is INNOV8. This Chamber-sponsored series of events will be coordinated by the Chamber for the second time in April 2013. This event is a collaboration with many other organizations including various university and economic development groups. It was a tremendous success in 2012 and is expected to be raised to another level in 2013.
We will also be addressing the transition of our President & CEO position due to Rob Guidry’s retirement later in 2013. Rob Guidry has been the Chamber President & CEO for over 20 years and his leadership will be missed. However, the Lafayette community and the Chamber will be an attractive opportunity and we are looking forward to making the transition a very positive one.
Certainly the impact and success of any organization, specifically our Chamber, can be guaranteed by the participation of its members. There is an ambitious agenda and your involvement can make a difference. We encourage you to participate in a division and attend the outstanding events held throughout the year.
Our community is recognized for its people, culture, entrepreneurship, innovation, and success. Your Chamber of Commerce has a legacy of making a positive impact on our community through the efforts of its members, staff and leadership. I sincerely thank you and am honored to serve as Chairman of the Greater Lafayette Chamber of Commerce.
Robert Eddy Jr., CLU, ChFC, REBC
Pinnacle Group Insurance & Financial Services