The Fox Cities Chamber celebrated its annual Report to the Community on Thursday, January 12 with over 260 business and community leaders in attendance. It was opened with a welcome by Dan Ferris, Vice President, General Counsel and Corporate Secretary, SECURA and Chairman of the Fox Cities Chamber Board of Directors. Ferris emphasized the role of the Chamber in the community as one of fostering economic development, nurturing a talent pipeline, and supporting the needs of local businesses, both big and small.
This annual event featured stories told from Chamber stakeholders in the three focus areas of Inspiring Community, Investing in People and Strengthening Business and showcased key priorities of work and successes in 2016. A few highlights included:
- 1,000+ total members, 75 new members
- 116 business retention and expansion visits
- 32 total Pulse events with 6,000+ attendees
- 39 Leadership Fox Cities graduates in Spring 2016
- 2,600+ student attendees and 48 participating businesses at the 10th Annual 8th Grade Career Expo
- 74 Talent Upload student participants from 13 universities
- 168 participating businesses in Your Future Fox Cities
- 10 Public Policy events with 600+ attendees
The Fox Cities Chamber recognizes the importance of community-wide initiatives that bring together people, businesses and organizations that positively impact the local economy, and improve the quality of life for everyone. These initiatives include Bazaar After Dark, Octoberfest and YP Week. The Inspiring Community focus was introduced by Jason Henderson, North East Wisconsin Regional Manager, Feeding America Eastern Wisconsin and Chamber board member. The speakers were:
- Dawn Ebert, Owner, Simple Simon – Vendor and participating Wisconsin Avenue business at Bazaar After Dark
- Jennifer Stephany, Executive Director, Appleton Downtown, Inc., - Octoberfest partner and Octoberfest grant recipient
- Melissa Hunt, Regional Economic Development Director, Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation - Statewide partner of YP Week and personal attendee of 2016 YP Week
Investing in People
Chamber board member Kathi Seifert, President and Owner of Katapult, LLC, presented the focus area of Investing in People. The speakers talked about the Chamber’s programming that attracts and retains talent in the Fox Cities. They explained how the Chamber connects young students with local employers, while also providing employers retention tools that give participants a deep sense of community engagement that makes this a great place to live.
- Patty Van Ryzin, Vice President – Human Resources, Bassett Mechanical – Sponsored multiple graduates over 12 years of both Traditional and Executive Leadership Fox Cities
- Yee Vue, Hmong Family Outreach Specialist, Appleton Public Library – Recipient of 2016 Future 15 Award
- Barry Scholz, Director of Labor Relations, and James DeGrave, a Carpenter Pre-Apprentice, both from The Boldt Company – Presenting Sponsor 8th Grade Career Expo and Champion Sponsor Your Future Fox Cities
- Scott Teerlinck, President & CEO, Werner Electric – Chamber board member and Talent Upload contributor
The third focus area, Strengthening Business, was presented by Kip Golden, Executive Vice President and Co-Owner, CR Structures Group and Chamber board member. These speakers highlighted the importance of the Chamber as a resource for businesses and local municipalities.
The speakers were:
- Steve Jenkins, President, Fond du Lac Economic Development Corporation – Co-host 2016 FAM Tour and Partner in I-41 Corridor Development
- Don Herrmann, President and Founder, Herrmann Advantage Consulting, LLC – Chamber Ambassador, Small business workshop presenter and program developer
- James Fenlon, Village Administrator, Village of Little Chute – Fox Cities Regional Partnership Investor and Member of the Economic Development Council
- Lisa Cruz, Owner, Red Shoes PR – Chamber board member and Public Policy Council member
Dan Ferris, Fox Cities Chamber Board President, said, “We are grateful for all of the presenters telling their stories of how the Chamber has improved the business climate and created a sense of well-being for all residents.”
The event also featured the new Fox Cities lifestyle video sponsored by the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation and Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce.