Viewpoint – August 2015

By Ernie Colburn

As of this writing, the Chamber is halfway through our 6-Industry Roundtable Meetings. These Roundtable Meetings are held at the Chamber every Wednesday from Noon to 1:30pm through August 19th. These roundtable discussions have a panel that includes City of Salisbury Mayor Jim Ireton, City Council President Jake Day, Wicomico County Executive Bob Culver and Wicomico County Council President John Cannon. Additionally appearing on the panel have been Laura Kordzikowski, Business Development Specialist for the City of Salisbury as well as Julia Glanz, Assistant City of Salisbury Administrator. Future panels will include Tom Stevenson, City of Salisbury administrator.

This Industry Roundtable series provides our elected officials the opportunity to meet and listen to some of our local community’s foremost industry leaders. It’s the hope this initiative will greatly enhance communication and understanding between our Chamber business members, our elected officials, and those working to keep our economy growing here on the Lower Shore. These meetings are under to leadership of the Chambers Advocacy and Government Relations Division.

In the first 3 Roundtable Series, a few “aha” moments have taken place by both the elected officials and the business community leaders.

Roundtable #1 held July 15th included Construction/Contractors/Real Estate personnel. A sample of some of the topics under discussion included EDU Incentive Zones; “Keep It Local” Incentive; Local Support vs State Barriers; Sprinkler System Regulations-barrier to downtown development; Downtown Development Services Hookup (street water pipe/hookup tap).

In the second series held July 22nd we covered Health & Wellness (including Doctors, Dentist, Hospitals, Fitness and Physical Therapy). Some of the topics of discussion were Barriers to Growth Across County Lines; Misconceptions of Business Models; Grant Accessibility; Ability to attract and retain qualified staff/marketability of our region….in other words, how do we attract physicians (and other employees in the health care fields) to this region and also attract their spouse and family?; ongoing issue of addressing brain drain on the Eastern Shore;

Meeting the needs of the aging/retired population on the shore AND attracting other retirees to move here; Substance Abuse; Raising the Socioeconomic Base; Holistic Wellness; Community Engagement.

The reason I’m listing the content of these Roundtable Series is for you to see exactly what you are missing by not attending. These series of Roundtables are open to all chamber members AND the general public is welcome to attend. I’ll provide a contact email address for you to request copies of the minutes in detail for those series complete as well as those series forthcoming.

Series Roundtable # 3 held July 29th included Automotive/Retail/

Manufacturing categories. Some of the topics under discussion included Inventory Tax; Incentive vs Enforcement; Infrastructure Development; and Renewable Energy.

Here’s the remaining schedule:

8/05……Business Services (includes Accounting, Advertising, Banking, Financial Services,Insurance)

8/12…….Hospitality (includes Hotels, Motels, Restaurants, Food Services, Tourism)

8/19…….Education and Organizations

All Roundtables are on Wednesday from Noon to 1:30pm at the Chamber, 144 East Main Street, Salisbury. Phone: 410-749-0144.

If you’d like to sign-up for one or more of these Roundtable Discussions, please email: smitchell@salisburyarea.com

If you’d like to receive a copy of the minutes from the three series completed or future series minutes, email: ssmecker@salisburyarea.com

The Roundtable series belong to YOU, the Chamber member and General Public! Come and share what are some of the barriers to growth & profitability for your business in Salisbury and Wicomico County. What are some of the things that are limiting your business from reaching its maximum potential?

The Chamber has an obligation to produce programs and events that are 100% relevant in today’s economic environment and we feel this series gets all parties talking in a constructive and productive manner.

These sessions are NOT intended to be compliant sessions. They’re intended to build relationships between City/County government and the business community. Come join us!

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