This week, the Aurora Regional Chamber of Commerce will hold its Annual Celebration of Membership. This event highlights the accomplishments of the business community, showcases the activities of the Aurora Chamber and sets the direction for the upcoming year.
This past year, we had more than 100 businesses assist the Chamber and its partners with the Aurora Regional Pathways to Prosperity initiative. Others helped craft curriculum for Aurora University’s successful launch of the John C. Dunham STEM Partnership School. Additional organizations are involved in a growing number of causes and efforts in our community to create a stronger, more vibrant future for the community in which we all live, work and enjoy.
Looking back, we realized we completed 45 percent more certificates of origin for our business members to export their products around the world. Aurora area goods are being sold worldwide; your neighbors, family members or friends may be involved in this growing global economy.
Still others participated in more than 100 public policy meetings to help improve the business climate and share the business voice with our elected officials at City Hall, in Springfield and Washington.
Through discount programs and member discounts, our members were able to improve their bottom line by spending less. We created important connections for our businesses to collaborate and grow. More than 170 networking opportunities were available to our members.
Key events like the State of the City, the State of the Village and the multi-chamber Holiday Celebration offered opportunities for our community’s leaders to foster a collaborative, supportive economy in our region.
We offered a number of educational events for business leaders to learn better business techniques. With legislation that impacted medical marijuana use, the Affordable Care Act and Fair Labor Standards Act (to name a few), the Aurora Chamber organized programs to make its members aware of the impact to their businesses.
Of course, we cannot do it alone. We counted more than 50 collaborative partners that helped us organize, promote and coordinate programs and activities. We had more than 140 volunteers to lend a hand. We appreciate the assistance our Ambassadors provide at meetings, with welcome calls, mentoring new members and so much more. Our committee members and board members help guide our direction, and in many cases, assist in the implementation of the plans to support our business community.
During Thursday’s lunch, we will recognize our Immediate Past Chair Keith Wheeler of Responsive Network Services for his leadership this past year. We’ll also hear from Laura Newman of Mitutoyo America Corporation who recently accepted the role of board chair.
We are celebrating a remarkable year – and appreciate all of the efforts of the business community in making this region so strong.
One last request as we continue to strengthen our area: Please vote next Tuesday.
It’s easy to be cynical. Some believe our problems are too big and our politics are too small. Some wonder whether voting is worth the bother, whether it will make a difference. The truth is that every vote and voice matters in this election. If you want your voice to be heard, vote. With so many close contests this year, every vote really does count.