As the President of the Lakewood Chamber of Commerce, I am honored to have the opportunity to introduce the Chamber in this wonderful publication. This is a uniquely exciting time for the Chamber and the Township of Lakewood as we enter into a dynamic period of growth and development.
The Township and its residents are growing rapidly, vibrantly and diversely along with business and commerce within the Township. The Lakewood BlueClaws are well into their eighth season at the FirstEnergy Park after seven extremely successful seasons and they were the South Atlantic League Champions in 1997. The team has broken league attendance records, and has provided a wonderful opportunity for the residents of Lakewood and the surrounding areas of Ocean and Monmouth Counties to enjoy affordable recreational opportunities and family entertainment that cannot often be found in many other communities. At the same time, they have also provided job and business opportunities for many of our residents and have been active participants in a variety of Chamber activities and community services.
The completion of the Hilton Garden Inn and the addition of a new Garden State Parkway exit will afford local and regional residents exciting job opportunities and enhance Lakewood’s reputation as an outstanding and accessible community in which to promote the growth of business and commerce.
Lakewood’s reputation is further supported by one of the mainstays of the business community, the Lakewood Industrial Park. The Park continues to thrive as the second-largest industrial park in the state and provides a haven for a very diverse group of businesses that flourish in the Township.
Lakewood’s past and present governing officials and administrators have provided the necessary dedication, effort, resources and foresight to make many of these unique business opportunities possible. The foregoing business models, the Township’s status as an Urban Enterprise Zone and its designation as a permanent Foreign Trade Zone make Lakewood one of the most unique and exciting business communities in the state, if not the country. When we also consider the fine educational opportunities offered by Georgian Court University and the Beth Medrash Govoha Rabbinical College, and the wonderful cultural and entertainment facilities of the historic Strand Theater, there can be no doubt that Lakewood has developed a solid image as a community that encourages and fosters business, education and commerce.
Such a dynamic business community provides the ideal climate for The Lakewood Chamber to thrive and promote the business opportunities available in Lakewood. Since its organization in 1898 and its incorporation in 1917, the Chamber and its membership have continued to grow in order to keep pace with the dramatic expansion of its business community. Membership has soared to 432 members as of January 2009. This could not have occurred without the tireless efforts of the Chamber staff, the dedicated efforts of officers and directors, and the implementation of new member programs, such as the quarterly new member orientation meetings and the “after-hours,” new member solicitation events, all of which have been extremely successful.
Fiscally, the Chamber has had a successful year and is looking forward to similar success this year through the persistent efforts of its staff, Executive Director Maureen Stankowitz, Executive Assistants Pam Ulrich and Carol Fodor and office volunteer Kathy Okaly, as well as the proactive and motivated volunteers that comprise the Chamber’s Board of Directors, its Executive Board and its 15 committees. As a result of the committed efforts of these energized business people and volunteers, the Chamber has consistently moved forward with a highly motivated goal: to help ensure that Lakewood is a community that welcomes and promotes businesses so they, in turn, can provide the commerce to enable Lakewood to grow and its residents to prosper.
The Chamber, through its luncheon programs and seminars, special events such as the Golf Outing and Citizen of the Year Dinner, scholarship programs, and joint business events with other Chambers and the Monmouth-Ocean Development Council, has been able to facilitate the networking of its members, educate and inform them, and assist them in focusing on business issues that have direct and significant impact on the business community.
The Chamber functions and thrives by relying upon the hard work of its many committees to accomplish its goals. This year, there will be a greater emphasis on activating, maintaining and promoting the activities of such committees. They will address the many business issues that confront the community, with a direct and focused perspective and approach. We encourage all members of the Chamber to get involved, join us in meeting and networking with fellow members.
During this difficult economic period, it is clear that the economy will be on an upswing and will provide many promising opportunities for the state in general, and the Shore area and business community of Lakewood and its residents.
It has been my distinct privilege to serve as President of the Chamber for the past year and as Vice President and a Director in prior years. I am looking forward with great pride, excitement and anticipation to continue in this role for the second year of my term.
CPA, Chamber President