Bradley County Chamber Nearly Doubles Membership Goal

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

“Can we count on you to move this organization to the next level?” Chairman of the Board Steve Robinson, Cleveland Plywood Co., asked in January 2013 at the 87th annual meeting of the Cleveland/Bradley Chamber of Commerce. Then he issued the challenge: “We plan to increase our membership to 1,000 by year’s end.”

And with the enthusiastic help of nearly 14 chairmen, 81 team captains and 317 volunteers on Oct. 1-3, the Chamber surpassed that ambitious goal and now boasts more than 1,200 members.

“I’m still coming down off Cloud Nine after last week’s membership event,” Gary Farlow, Chamber president and CEO, said. “By working with Jimmy Cusano and Your Chamber Connection (YCC), and through the competitive leadership of our event chairs, team captains and 317 volunteers who understand our mission and support our programs, we are now number one in Tennessee and third in the country in YCC membership-event results!”

The theme for the October event was “Chamber World Series: Batting a 1,000.”

“The Cleveland/Bradley Chamber set a goal that would make most chambers blush—300 new members in hopes of being a thousand-member Chamber following this membership event,” the YCC staff noted. “But by early morning on day two, they shattered their goal and continued to rise.”

By the conclusion of the event Thursday afternoon, the Chamber had an impressive 558 new members—nearly double their original goal.

Mr. Farlow added, “Visitors who dropped by the Chamber last week probably thought we had lost our minds. Jimmy is a high-energy Italian who trained the volunteers who were here to make calls with ‘hands up’ commands, high fives, passionate explanations about the role of the Chamber in the community, and reminders that ‘it’s not about me—it’s about US.’ ”

The Chamber’s conference center brimmed with enthusiastic volunteers on their personal cell phones, making calls, wearing smiles, and encouraging local businesses, regional operations and vendors to join the ranks of the Cleveland/Bradley Chamber.

“The energized room was abuzz with dozens of callers telling the Chamber story,” noted Chamber Membership Development Vice President Kevin Moore, AXA Advisors LLC. “Every successful sale was announced with ringing of cowbells—a sound we heard often as the teams worked against the clock and against each other. Competition was in full swing with bragging rights and a stronger chamber the only prizes to claim.”

The Chamber story included reminders that the work of the Chamber encompasses efforts that resulted in $2.6 billion in economic development in the past five years, 1,600 new jobs and 4,000 jobs retained. Efforts by the Chamber’s Convention & Visitors Bureau resulted in a number-one ranking in tourism growth last year for Bradley County out of the 95 Tennessee counties.

In addition, volunteers learned that the Chamber’s education programs help to improve the community’s workforce, particularly the more than 1,100 students enrolled as Tennessee Scholars and the 300-plus students who participate in Job Shadowing each fall.

“Anyone you do business with who benefits from the economic, community and business development advanced by this Chamber of Commerce should be a member,” Mr. Cusano told the volunteers. “When others hear about everything the Chamber does, all of a sudden you have a great deal of enthusiasm for the Chamber and a great deal of support.”

The Chamber of Commerce is a membership-based organization. For more information about membership, call the offices at 423 472-6587.


Georgia’s Unemployment Rate Rises To 5.4 Percent In December

The Georgia Department of Labor (GDOL) announced on Thursday that the state’s seasonally-adjusted unemployment rate increased for the fourth consecutive month to 5.4 percent in December, up one-tenth of a percentage point from 5.3 percent in November. In December 2015, the unemployment rate was 5.5 percent. The rate rose as the state’s labor force grew and the number of new ... (click for more)

Federal Grant To Help Workers Dislocated By Wildfire

Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development Commissioner Burns Phillips today announced the Department has received a $5,824,000 grant from the United States Department of Labor to assist in recovery efforts following a wildfire in Sevier County last November.       The U.S. Department of Labor approved a National Dislocated Worker Grant, with $2 ... (click for more)

Haslam Unveils Comprehensive Tax Cut And Transportation Proposal Including Higher Gas Tax And Vehicle Registration Fee

Joined by mayors from across the state and leaders in the manufacturing and trucking industries, Governor Bill Haslam on Wednesday announced "a comprehensive and strategic plan to cut taxes on food and manufacturing while updating how the state provides Tennesseans the safe and reliable transportation network needed to support future job growth." The IMPROVE Act, “Improving ... (click for more)

Big Woody's Tree Service Employee Killed In Fall On Signal Mountain

An employee of Woody's Tree Service fell to his death 150 feet off a bluff while trimming trees on Signal Mountain on Wednesday. At  11:22 a.m. , a 911 call was made by an employee of the tree service reporting a man in his early 30s had fallen off a bluff the mountain while trimming trees on private property. Walden's Ridge Emergency Services responded to 6202 ... (click for more)

Beyond Freedom Of Speech - And Response

Yes, most people know about the First Amendment to our Constitution, "The right, guaranteed by the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, to express beliefs and ideas without unwarranted government restriction."  I being a "deplorable" draw the line when people block traffic, try to disrupt, and even stop an activity through malice and disregard for others. Case being ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Where Is Central’s Auditorium?

I am surely one of the biggest proponents of high school athletics there is, especially after half a decade of being an eye witness to the vast array of lessons that are learned every day by anyone associated with sports. That said, I have watched the Hamilton County Commission waffle on a $500,000 track at Central High School with a certain curiosity because the same high school ... (click for more)