Banquet will honor Chamber

Thursday, June 10, 2004 | 12:00 a.m. CDT; updated 8:05 a.m. CDT, Saturday, July 19, 2008

Providing support for re-zoning the Philips tract has been recognized as one of the Columbia Chamber of Commerce’s highlights of the year by Chairperson Karen Taylor. “I really believe we had a significant influence during the city council meetings, and played a big part in that decision,” Taylor said.

The Chamber of Commerce will celebrate this and other accomplishments at the 99th annual meeting and awards banquet tonight at an event being called “Viva Las Chamber.”

Taylor said other chamber accomplishments during her one-year term as chairperson include creating a strategic plan for the chamber as a guide for the next five years.

As part of this plan, the chamber hopes to improve upon attraction and retention of members. During the past year, the chamber has had more members than in the previous two years, and Taylor said she hopes the trend will continue as the chamber reaches its centennial mark.

Other components of the plan include expanding the chamber’s facilities, assessing the chamber’s membership to create more training opportunities and being a strong public voice for the Columbia business community.

Additionally, plans are underway for another total resource campaign similar to the one started in February.

The Total Resource Campaign, the first of its kind for the chamber, is a volunteer-run effort to enlist new members, generate program and event sponsorships and sell advertising in the chamber’s publications, according to the chamber’s Web site.

This year’s campaign was successful, Taylor said, and will allow for more programming and workshops for the business community in the coming year.

Chamber President Don Laird also said endorsing the Philips tract re-zoning was an important aspect of the chamber’s duties this year.

In addition to celebrating their accomplishments, “Viva Las Chamber” is a night of recognition and honor, Laird said.

The Citizen of the Year award will be announced at the meeting, which Laird said is “rather unique for our community.”

The criteria for the award includes involvement in community service as well as local political, educational, and economic issues.

Past winners include former Columbia Public School Superintendent Jim Ritter, and Kee Groshong, who was the vice chancellor for administrative services at MU.

Also being recognized is Taylor, whose term as chamber chair concludes on June 30.

Mike Vangel, of Vangel Associates, will serve as chair for the coming year.

Vangel hopes to continue the efforts the chamber has made toward building a successful community.

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