Chamber Potty Humor

Tania Kohut on Wednesday, October 31, 2012 at 12:00:00 am 

Here’s a funny story about a chamber-led project in Australia that’s got some local residents holding their noses and crying “not funny,” while others may be rolling in their graves.

It was going to cost $80,000 (Australian) for a local cemetery in Millaa Millaa, a small town in North Queensland, to build a bathroom on cemetery property, so the local chamber of commerce took on the project. The result? A toilet facility, complete with septic system, built in the shape of an upright coffin, bearing a cross and the letters “RIP.”  According to chamber President Pat Reynolds, quoted in a  news article,  "You have to be careful, not everyone is going to have our macabre sense of humour. But we did it with good intentions. It's for firstly, the cemetery, and secondly, maybe a few more people will notice Millaa Millaa now." Click here for pictures and the full story.

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PA's Bowman Earns Honor

Tania Kohut on Monday, October 29, 2012 at 8:30:00 am 

Larry Bowman, CCE, PaCCE, president & CEO of the Lebanon Valley, Pa., Chamber of Commerce, was awarded the Keystone Award for outstanding service by a chamber of commerce executive. The award was presented at the annual meeting of the Pennsylvania Association of Chamber Professionals (PACP) on Monday, October 22nd.   

The Keystone Award recognizes outstanding service in, and contributions to, the profession of chamber management in Pennsylvania. It is the highest honor bestowed by PACP. It is not presented on an annual basis, but only at such times as an individual has merited such recognition. Bowman is only the twenty-second recipient of the award.

In the nomination information for Bowman he was lauded for his commitment to the profession and was noted as a role model of integrity and hard work.   Chairperson of PACP, Nancy P. Keefer, president of the Chester County Chamber of Business & Industry noted that “I could go on and on about how he has led the individual chambers and communities that he has served.  I know for a fact under his leadership, that chambers have reached new milestones including accreditations, increased memberships and budgets; he has been recognized as a force in legislative affairs, taking strong stands and developing relationships with elected officials and he has developed long-term relationships in many of the communities he has served and is looked upon as a friend to many.”

Bowman has been the president & CEO of the Lebanon Valley Chamber since 2007. He served as the PACP chairman in 2011.



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Spokane Gets REAL

Ian Scott on Friday, October 26, 2012 at 10:35:00 am 

Improving educational attainment in your region is not a task on a “to-do” list that you can check off some day. It requires vision, persistence and committed leadership, all of which Greater Spokane Incorporated is supplying for their region.

I was in Spokane last month and sat down with Shelley O’Quinn, Director of Workforce and Education for GSI. Shelley, who’s currently running for county commission, leads their REAL initiative – Regional Education Attainment Legacy. This includes projects, partnerships and policy work address issues from Pre-K though Higher Education.  A few highlights:

  • K-12 Roundtable – meeting every other month with public and private superintendents from 14 school systems across the region. Business leaders are at each meeting; the agenda focuses on everything from capital projects to policy reform to education quality. They’ve organized these meetings for 8 years.
  • Career Awareness  – Because top business and K-12 leaders have met regularly for so long, they’ve been able to launch programs that would be hard to pull off in one district alone: Aerospace Skills Week, Washington Business Week, and the Professional Development Academy for Science Instructors. Two school districts also house internship coordinators in the GSI offices.
  • STEM – GSI is the funding agent and hosts staff for the Spokane STEM Network. A new bioscience focused STEM academy just opened this fall in downtown Spokane. Check out this great video.
  • Higher Education Leadership Group – this 12 year old, economic growth-focused group includes the presidents from all 5 of the region’s higher education institutions and key corporate leaders. Their most recent achievement… landing a new state medical school in Spokane.

Better education outcomes through business-educator cooperation, all supported by the regional chamber of commerce.  That’s what REAL in greater Spokane.

Tags: education, higher education, regional cooperation, STEM

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Nashville Academies: National Attention

Alysia Bell on Wednesday, October 24, 2012 at 12:00:00 am 

The public school system in Nashville is getting national attention for its efforts in high school reform. Each of its 12 zoned high schools have implemented “wall-to-wall” academies within each school, which means that all the students in the school belong to a career or thematic academy for grades 10-12, after starting in a “freshman academy.” What’s attracted attention is the scale of this strategy (15,000+ students, 1,000 teachers), the initial results (graduation rates up, dropout rate down, math scores up), and the deep participation of the business community (more than 170 business-academy partnerships).

Click here to view an invitation from the Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce for district, civic, or business/nonprofit leaders to participate in a one-day “deep dive” into the Nashville model on Thursday Nov. 8 as part of the National Career Academy Coalition annual conference in Nashville. It’s an ideal opportunity for leaders who are considering adopting the academy model in their district or are thinking about the systemic issues of taking the academy model to full scale.

Explore all of the education initiatives that are going on at the Nashville Area Chamber by visiting their webpage on K-12 Education including a YouTube playlist with videos showcasing some of their programs.  

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Tampa Bay Beaches Chamber Wins . . . Twice!

Tania Kohut on Monday, October 22, 2012 at 8:30:00 am 

New ACCE member - The Tampa Bay Beaches Chamber of Commerce (TBBCoC) – was recently recognized with the 2012 Florida Association of Chamber Professionals’ (FACP) 2012 Florida Chamber of the Year Award. TBBCoC’s President/CEO Robin Sollie, IOM, was also honored as the 2012 Chamber Professional of the Year. The awards were presented last month at the annual state conference in Boca Raton, Fl.

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Chamber as City’s Contracted Econ Developer

Tania Kohut on Friday, October 19, 2012 at 12:00:00 am 

Tuscaloosa, Ala., Mayor Walt Maddox, with authorization from the City Council’s Finance Committee, is taking steps to contract out the city’s economic development activities with the Chamber of Commerce of West Alabama. The move follows a reorganization of City Hall departments, which reduced the size of the Office of Economic Development. As of the date of this posting, the new partnership has yet to be approved by the full City Council.

In an article posted on, Mayor Maddox said, “I think this is a groundbreaking opportunity for the city to partner with the chamber and aggressively go after the missing links within our business community.”

According to the article, the chamber will focus on business attraction and retention; “We are ready,” said chamber President Jim Page.  In a related article on, Page elaborated on the chamber’s role. "We will be out front being the recruitment end of this, but in no way, shape, form or fashion does this enable us to promise things that the city can't do from an incentive standpoint or otherwise," said Page. "So we know our limitations and we'll bring them to the table. Certainly, the mayor and the City Council will make the final decision on any and all projects."

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“I am the Woodstock Chamber”

Tania Kohut on Wednesday, October 17, 2012 at 12:00:00 am 

After changing its logo earlier this year, the Woodstock, Ill., Chamber of Commerce kicked off a new marketing campaign: “I Am The Woodstock Chamber,” placing more emphasis on local business owners. The chamber’s Executive Director, Shari Gray, was quoted in a The Northwest Herald article saying that the campaign, which features the faces of four local business owners, “puts a face on the chamber businesses.” Chamber President Todd Kinker echoed her sentiment explaining that, "It's the business owners that make us an organization. By highlighting them and bringing them together, we make our organization stronger." Learn more about the campaign, including how the four “faces” were selected, and see samples of the printed promotional pieces here.

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Betting on a Successful Merger in Vegas

Tania Kohut on Tuesday, October 16, 2012 at 12:00:00 am 

The Las Vegas Chamber of Commerce and the North Las Vegas Chamber of Commerce announced this week they have merged into one organization with 6,500 members. According to an online news report on Vegas’ NBC affiliate, KSNV, North Las Vegas members will be consolidated with the Las Vegas Chamber and have access to Las Vegas Chamber benefits similar to those offered at their existing membership level. According to a joint statement by Las Vegas Chamber Chairman Kevin Orrock, North Las Vegas Chamber Chairman Mike PeQueen, and Las Vegas Chamber President Kristin McMillan, “the coming together of these two long-standing organizations signals a solid, cohesive association that will promote and protect businesses that operate in the North valley, and will work successfully in partnership with others to support a healthy economy throughout the region.” Read more about the merger here.


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Chamber says, “One Strike, You’re Out!”

Tania Kohut on Monday, October 15, 2012 at 12:00:00 am 

The Salem, Mass., Chamber of Commerce doesn’t mess around.

To make sure that patrons of Salem’s restaurants and bars enjoy a night out without any troublemakers marring the experience, the chamber’s five-year-old initiative, “One Strike, You’re Out,” targets those who are arrested or served a no trespass warning at any of 22 participating restaurants and bars. Stir up some trouble and, per the zero tolerance initiative, you’ll be banned from stepping foot into these establishments for six months. Read all about it here.

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Mick Fleming on Wednesday, October 10, 2012 at 12:00:00 am 

A chamber in the Southeast has reported that a publisher in their market is complaining to the IRS about the chamber’s significant visitor publication/advertising activities. Essentially, this individual is blowing the whistle not only on that chamber, but on another dozen chambers and CVB entities. This incident should serve as a reminder to all chambers to be sure that reporting of unrelated business income is accurate and complete (more than one form may be required), with timely payment of appropriate taxes.  For the most part, the tax liability a chamber might face as a result of ads, display booths, lease income and certain sponsorships is modest, but the penalties and PR impact for improper reporting are substantial. Talk to your auditor and/or the accountant who helps you complete your tax forms, but don’t assume that they understand all aspects of Unrelated Business Income Tax (UBIT).  Discuss your various kinds of non-dues income and ask about how they may be treated by the IRS and state tax offices.

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