Jeremy Arthur: Helping CCAA Build Better AL

Tania Kohut on Thursday, April 26, 2012 at 11:00:00 am 

The board of directors of the Chamber of Commerce Association of Alabama (CCAA) named Jeremy Arthur, current president of the Prattville Chamber of Commerce, as its new executive director.  Arthur will assume the position in mid-May.

“I am excited about the new opportunity that awaits me,” said Arthur. “Under the leadership of CCAA board chairman Jan Wood and the entire CCAA board of directors, I look forward to helping achieve the CCAA’s goal of ‘building a better Alabama through strong chambers of commerce.’”

Arthur brings several years of experience in chamber of commerce work to the CCAA job. In 2004, he was named executive vice president of the Prattville Chamber, and subsequently was named president of the organization that has more than 875 members in one of the fastest-growing areas of Alabama. Before joining the chamber, he was an outreach research assistant for the Economic Development Institute at Auburn University.  He holds a bachelor’s degree in political science, a master’s degree in public administration, and is a doctoral candidate in public administration and public policy, all from Auburn.

Arthur is a member of several national organizations, including the board of directors of the Auburn Alumni Association, the American Society for Public Administration and the American Chamber of Commerce Executives.  He was also elected vice-chairman to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Board of Regents representing the Southeast Institute for Organization Management (IOM). He is an active member of numerous statewide organizations, including the board of directors of the CCAA, and the Economic Development Association of Alabama, where he is currently serving on its Conference Committee.

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The Democrat Who Took on the Unions

Chaaron Pearson on Thursday, April 26, 2012 at 9:00:00 am 

Gina Raimondo, Rhode Island’s Democratic state treasurer, has overhauled the state pension system and isn’t making friends with the unions.

The former venture capitalist says, “A government that doesn’t work is in no one’s interest…I don’t really care if you’re a Republican or a Democrat or you want to fight about the size of government. How about a government that just works? Put your tax dollar in and get a return out the other end.”

State pensions were a huge problem in Rhode Island because there are more retirees collecting pensions than workers paying into the system. Read more about Ms. Raimondo and her reforms: March 25 Wall Street Journal Weekend Interview

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Hammond: Immigration Reform is Key

Chaaron Pearson on Wednesday, April 25, 2012 at 9:00:00 am 

An article by Bill Hammond, CEO of the Texas Association of Business, recently appeared in the El Paso Times. “Immigration Reform a Key Step to Creating Jobs in the U.S.” explains an economic imperative for immigration reform.

Hammond stresses the importance of keeping highly-trained STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) students in the United States after they graduate from college. He also references a recent joint study by American Enterprise Institute and Partnership for a New American Economy that found that the average foreign graduate who stays and works in a STEM field creates 2.62 American jobs. To read the report in its entirety, click here.

For more immigration reform resources, visit ACCE’s Information Office.

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Campaign for Modern Medicines and PDUFA

Chaaron Pearson on Tuesday, April 24, 2012 at 9:00:00 am 

On our last Government Relations Division conference call, Michael Matthews with the Campaign for Modern Medicines explained why he’s interested in having chambers and their members join in a petition to congress to pass a clean Prescription Drug User Fee Act (PDUFA) reauthorization by July 4.

Check out the Campaign for Modern Medicines website for more information or sign the petition.

If you’d like more information, contact Michael Matthews at:

Rasky Baerlein Strategic Communications
(202) 530-7700

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Chamber Execs Tour Croatia

Tania Kohut on Tuesday, April 24, 2012 at 9:00:00 am 

Fifteen chamber executives recently joined ACCE for a familiarization tour of Croatia. The tour demonstrated the excellent potential of Croatian tourism as a means to generate non-dues revenue for chambers.

The eight-day trip included full-day tours of:

  • Split and Salona
  • Hvar Island
  • Bosnia-Hercegovina & Mostar
  • Dubrovnik

Pictured here is a shot of the group in Dubrovnik's Old Town Square.

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Grand Rapids Exec Makes the Case for Home Visiting

Chaaron Pearson on Monday, April 23, 2012 at 9:00:00 am 

The March issue of The Chamber News, a monthly publication of the Grand Rapids, Mich., Chamber of Commerce, included an article from Rick Baker, CEO of the Grand Rapids Chamber, on the importance of home visiting for Michigan's economic future.

Baker calls for Michigan legislators to focus tax dollars on programs with a proven record of success and to work hard to strengthen the business climate. He recommends investing in home visiting, which matches new parents with trained professionals who provide information and support during pregnancy and the child’s early years.

Employers are noticing more prospective hires who lack fundamental skills such as problem solving and the ability to work in teams. The foundation for these critical skills is built in the earliest years of life. Investing in home visits and early childhood education can help meet the needs of business by insuring a better prepared, more competitive work force.

Click here to read Rick’s full article.

Click here for more information on ReadyNation.

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ASAE Follows Up on Ethics Rule

Chaaron Pearson on Friday, April 20, 2012 at 12:00:00 am 

On April 18, the American Society of Association Executives (ASAE) sent a letter to White House Counsel Peter Rouse in response to a recent New York Times story about the Office of Government Ethics’ (OGE) proposed ethics rule.

ASAE had previously submitted a letter to the editor, but also felt compelled to communicate its concerns to the White House. The letter defends association meetings from the depictions of them as social events where lobbyists try to curry favor with government officials, and reiterates ASAE’s original request on the issue:

Albeit well-intentioned, OGE’s proposed rule unquestionably hinders information-sharing between the federal government and the private sector. We remain hopeful that the Administration will either shelve the proposed rule entirely, or modify the rule to include trade associations among the other types of organizations exempted from the rule (including professional societies, charities, scientific organizations and learned societies).

Read the letter in its entirety here.

Read the New York Times Letter to the Editor here.

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Mr. Nelson Goes to the White House

Tania Kohut on Friday, April 20, 2012 at 12:00:00 am 

On April 19, Aaron Nelson, president and CEO of the Chapel Hill-Carrboro Chamber of Commerce, was invited to the White House to take part in a ceremony celebrating nine individuals as Champions of Change who made a difference by innovating in renewable energy.  Nelson was invited because of his role as co-Chair of Chambers for Innovation and Clean Energy, a national network of 175 local chambers of commerce in 46 states, dedicated to helping businesses prosper in the clean energy space.

“It’s important now, more than ever, for the business community to lead the clean energy revolution.  We appreciate the White House recognizing business leaders across the nation for their leadership in innovation in renewable energy.  Chambers of commerce are committed to helping small business thrive.  Our chamber looks forward to continuing to help our members make and save money by going green and sustainable.” 

On April 4, Chambers for Innovation and Clean Energy announced the release of its new clean energy information platform for local chambers. Chambers for Innovation and Clean Energy’s new online information hub includes:

  • Clean energy best practices – providing nearly three dozen clean energy and energy efficiency projects local chambers can replicate, including examples from local chambers across the nation;
  • An “Ask the Energy Experts” portal – allowing local chambers to ask about and receive answers on clean energy technologies, financing, policy developments, and other topics, through partnerships with national energy experts;
  • An incentives toolkit – connecting chambers to information on available tax credits, subsidies, and other incentives for clean energy projects provided by their state, utility, or federal government.

“Local chambers are natural leaders on clean energy,” said Diane Doucette, Executive Director of Chambers for Innovation and Clean Energy. “As the go-to resource for local businesses, chambers are uniquely positioned to help their local economies grow through a focus on energy savings, clean energy job creation, and technology innovation. We are empowering chambers with the tools they need to do just that.”

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Strive, a Model for Education Cooperation

Ian Scott on Monday, April 16, 2012 at 12:00:00 am 

Education and workforce work was a reoccuring theme at the Metro Council meetings this winter.  That was no surprise, talent has been a top issue for chambers of commerce for decades and the business community has poured lots of time and resources into various initiatives all along the education pipeline.

What I’m learning, however, is that leading work on education and workforce issues increasingly comes from alliances between business, schools, universities, foundations and civic groups that adopt a holistic, cradle to career approach. One or two groups collaboring on a narrow set of issues just isn't moving the needle. This broader approach is essentially regional stewardship thinking applyied to the challenge of skilled workers.

One of the most promising – Cincinnati’s Strive Partnership – was the subject of Neal Peirce’s column last week for  Here’s an excerpt:

The Strive idea is that once multiple players in a region come together, sharing information and insights, they can pull back and see how the education system functions as a whole — and then set targets ranging from early childhood education to college graduation.

It’s not an easy formula. It means active, ongoing engagement by mayors, city and county city governments, foundations, businesses, social service agencies and others — plus teachers, administrators, university faculty. It’s a call for no-excuses collaboration. It means groups performing the tough act of putting their personal educational theories to the side.

Read the full column here: Communities Setting Audacious ‘Cradle to Career’ Education Goals

Learn more about the Strive Partnership at:

Tags: cincinnati, education, regional cooperation, regionalism, strive, talent, workforce

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Oklahoma City No. 1
for Job Creation

Brad Holt on Tuesday, April 3, 2012 at 12:00:00 am 

Gallup’s Job Creation Index ranked Oklahoma City as the number one city for job creation in 2011 out of the nation’s 50 largest metro areas. According to the study, Oklahoma City had a job creation index score of 25, outplacing other top-performing cities by at least 3 points and beating the national job creation score by 12 points. Other cities in the top five included Pittsburgh, Pa., Richmond, Va., Nashville, Tenn. and Orlando, Fla. 

“Not only are new companies moving to Oklahoma City, but our existing businesses are increasing their workforce and solidifying their dedication to this city,” said Roy H. Williams, president and CEO of the Greater Oklahoma City Chamber.

According to the index, the top-performing large metro areas have above-average hiring levels combined with below-average levels of layoffs. In Oklahoma City, 37 percent of survey respondents said their employers were expanding, while only 12 percent of respondents indicated that their company was laying off employees.

Nationally, 31 percent of U.S. workers said their employer was hiring, while 18 percent said their company was decreasing its size, resulting in a job creation index score of 13. The results are based on nationwide interviews conducted with 96,349 employed adults in 2011. 

Oklahoma ranked in the top five states for job creation with an index score of 21. This is an increase of eight points from 2010 levels.



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