Wednesday Mar 09 2011
State of the Chamber is — awesome
By: Dave Butler Rocklin Chamber of Commerce
In case you haven’t noticed, the first quarter of each year is dedicated to “state of” events. The president presents the State of the Union address, the governor, the State of the State; and in Rocklin, on March 25, the Rocklin Chamber will present the annual State of the City event where, for the first time in nearly a generation, Rocklin residents and business owners will hear from a new city manager, Rick Horst. The volunteer leaders of the Rocklin Chamber thought this would also be a good time to present the “State of the Chamber.” As chair of the board for 2011, I am proud to report that the State of the Rocklin Chamber is — awesome! Over the last six years, a succession of volunteer leaders and board chairs — Dave Brockway, Scott Yuill, Bill Halldin, Todd Lowell, Tammy Cooper and Franklin Burris have provided consistent, persistent leadership and vision to ensure sustained growth and improvement in the chamber’s operations, programs and level of service to our members and our community. During these six years, membership in the Rocklin Chamber has grown from 497 to 714; overall chamber revenue has grown steadily by almost 150 percent, from $250,000 to $368,000; and participation in and revenue from key programs and events has grown as well, increasing 308 percent, from $28,300 to $87,500. These revenue figures have allowed the chamber to accumulate a responsible cash reserve — a critical hedge against tough times and an opportunity to strategically invest in chamber operations. Such sustained success has been rare in the chamber business over the last few years, where most chambers have lost membership and bled revenue in the face of difficult economic times. While the chamber’s volunteer leadership has changed over the years, one constant has been the leadership and masterful execution of Robin Trimble, our CEO. Trimble and her talented team, now comprised of Christine Chrisman, Julie Reyes and Sharon Mowry, have improved chamber operations and finances, improved and expanded programs and, perhaps most importantly, provided an open and accommodating environment in which members feel welcome, quickly become engaged and make a difference. This friendly attitude has become not only the Rocklin Chamber’s signature, but has proven to be the chamber’s competitive advantage. Members frequently comment that they joined the chamber because they felt welcome and were encouraged to become involved quickly and make a difference right away. Over the last several years, the Rocklin Chamber has also become a leader in the city and in South Placer in economic development and government relations. The Rocklin Chamber started the RAC-PAC, an issues-based political action committee that had immediate impact, serving as the single largest donor to the successful Measure A Campaign to renew the city’s parks assessment. The Rocklin Chamber was the first chamber in South Placer County to host a business walk, a cutting edge economic development strategy to support local businesses. Last fall, the Rocklin Chamber worked with other chambers and jurisdictions to host a South Placer Business Walk — the largest of its kind ever in California — when over nearly 300 volunteers visited over 1,300 businesses in just over three hours. In 2011 and beyond, the volunteer leaders and staff of the Rocklin Area Chamber of Commerce are poised to take the chamber to the next level of success and effectiveness. We’re also positioned to be a valued partner to the new city manager, city council and staff, to expand on Rocklin’s past achievements and leverage our community’s unique assets to ensure we collectively compete and succeed in a very competitive economic marketplace. We invite you to join us and become involved in any number of the Rocklin Chamber’s events, programs and activities. David Butler is Board Chair of the Rocklin Area Chamber of Commerce and CEO of the regional non-profit, LEED-Linking Education and Economic Development. He can be reached at dbutler@LEED.org.