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 649Mike McDorman, President & CEO 

When I moved back to Springfield in my early 20s I had no idea what it meant to be a young professional.

I was a recent college graduate who simply wanted to find a job and begin to build a career.  Little did I know at that time I would have an opportunity to do just that right here in Springfield.  I soon accepted a marketing position with Ohio Edison and began to go to work every day in a very different world that was for the most part full of people who were much older and more experienced than me.  Fortunately, I was very blessed to have found a company that was not only great to work for, but was also full of incredibly talented people that were willing to help me grow into the leader that I am today.

GSYP_October2013Meeting

GSYP attend one of their first social.

I have learned from my experience that it is up to each of us to help grow the future leaders that will continue to help move Greater Springfield forward.  Our community’s future success depends not only on strong leadership today – but on strong leadership tomorrow.  That is the driver behind the Greater Springfield Young Professionals – a network of young professionals formed by four chamber members: Zach and Travis Holder of R. D. Holder Oil Co. and Eric Powell and Andrew Barlow of Baker Krizner Financial Planning.

The group, which was formed in early 2013, started out with about 10 members.  Today it has expanded to more than 50.

Powell, a lifelong resident of Springfield, said he saw the need to establish such a network “because there wasn’t a group to connect young professionals.”

The need became even more apparent when the four would see each other at various business networking events.  When we would attend chamber events, we noticed that there were very few people our age in the room,” Zach Holder said. “We wanted to find a way to encourage people of our generation to get involved – to really become active.”

The group meets the second Thursday of every month, alternating between lunches and socials held at various venues that introduce the group to opportunities in the community.

“There are plenty of young professionals looking to make an impact,” Holder said. “It is our responsibility to take that opportunity to lead.”

Area businesses have a lot to gain from GSYP’s success, Powell said.  “Our community as a whole, and business leaders included, should embrace this opportunity of a young professionals group because this is a way to attract and retain young professionals,” Powell said. “This is a way for future leaders of our community to build a solid foundation and make a positive impact on our community now as well as in the future.”

Sarah V. Michelson, office administrator for the Springfield Arts Council and new Springfield resident, joined the group with personal and professional goals in mind.

In addition to helping her become more acclimated to Springfield, she hopes her involvement will help introduce her generation to opportunities within Springfield’s arts community – both as attendees and as leaders.  “It’s important to broaden the audiences of those established institutions we have in our community,” she said. “I wanted to be involved to network and meet other young professionals and other businesses that might partner with the arts.”

Active engagement in local businesses and the community is an important driver for GSYP, Holder said.  “The community as a whole needs our generation to be prepped and ready to take leadership roles to make sure Springfield is the best place it can be to work and live,” he said.  The immediate goal is to grow. And while “professional” is in its title, Holder does not want that to scare away potential members.  “We want as many people as possible to attend – people who want to be active in the community and possible future leaders in our community.”

If you are a CEO of a company or organization with young professionals on your team, the Greater Springfield community needs you to encourage them to get involved.  If you are a young professional working in this region, we want to encourage you to speak to the leadership in your organization about getting involved.  This important investment of the company and the young professionals who participate will reap benefits not only for the future success of the company or organization, but also for the future success of our great community!

For more information about Greater Springfield Young Professionals, visit them on Facebook or email greaterspringfieldyp@gmail.com

Have a Great Chamber Day!

 649Mike McDorman, President & CEO 

One of the most frequent questions I get from local business owners is “how can I better market my business?”

My answer is always the same. “Network. Network. Network!”

Even today, when online marketing can significantly expand a business’ reach, face-to-face networking remains key in building relationships for business growth.

A perfect example of this is local funeral director Tom Rue, who built Littleton & Rue Funeral Home and Crematory around one-on-one networking.

“We took the business over in 1973,” Rue said. “The Littletons had built the business on their personal relationships. When we came on board we had to go back to square one and establish ourselves as the new owners. The only thing I could do was go out and touch people – not people we knew, but people we didn’t know.”

It did not happen overnight.

“You don’t have a relationship with someone until you build trust,” Rue said, “and building trust takes time.”

Time and much networking later, Rue was not only able to regain the business lost during the transition but grow the business as well.

“I honestly and truly believe our business was successful because we were in the community, giving back to the community and sharing our success with the community.”

Today Rue’s son, Rob, is heavily involved in social media but not at the exclusion of face-to-face networking. Tom Rue said.

“I am amazed at how many know Rob because of his involvement in social media,” Rue said. “But when people need more than a contact, when they need someone who recognizes them and knows a little bit about them; that comes only through face-to-face contact.”

As the largest business network in this area, the 800-member Greater Springfield Chamber of Commerce can help local businesses make connections they cannot make on their own.

We have a full schedule of networking events planned for 2014. To accommodate our members’ schedules and to address their varied interests, these events will alternate between legislative breakfasts, business-building luncheons and evening socials – such as our upcoming Chamber Night Out @ Boonshoft, Legislative Breakfast on the Affordable Care Act and Lunch & Learn on the Four Keys of Leadership Mastery, to name a few.

Our January evening social, Chamber Night at the NTPRD Chiller will be held 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, January 30.  There is perhaps no better way to break the ice (forgive the pun) than sharing a game of turkey bowling or broomball hockey with a new business acquaintance.

For more information, or to register for any of our upcoming events, visit the chamber’s website at GreaterSpringfield.com or give us a call at 937-325-7621.

Have a great chamber day!

 649Mike McDorman, President & CEO 

As we welcome in a new year, many of us spend time reflecting on how we did in 2013 and begin to focus on what we need to accomplish in 2014.  For the chamber that means looking at how we are doing in helping the business community and the Greater Springfield community move up the curve towards becoming a more vibrant community.  It also means the setting of some BHAGs (BIG HAIRY AUDACIOUS GOALS) for the coming year!

In last week’s writing I spoke about the milestone accomplishments that our community witnessed in 2013.  During this next year we will continue to work with many community leaders and key stakeholders to keep Greater Springfield on the path forward. This is a hard work, but it is an important work!  In 2014 we must not grow weary in doing this work, but must continue to work hard, and continue to DREAM BIG!  As Jack Welch, former CEO of GE says, “We must continue to drive this great vision relentlessly to completion!”

So what does a vibrant community look like for Greater Springfield?  It looks like:

  • a community with a balanced demographic
  • a community where prospective companies want to move to and invest
  • a community where prospective business recruits and families choose to live
  • a community where visitors come to play
  • a community where businesses thrive and continue to expand  

There are many projects in the works that will help our community continue to move toward the vision of a more vibrant community.  Some of those initiatives include:

  • Open the door for 1,500 new jobs to come to Springfield at the new PrimeOhio II and Champion City Industrial Parks
  • Re-position Nextedge for new tech development opportunities
  • Help strengthen sales tax generation through an enhanced Buy Springfield campaign that will target our community’s core retail and restaurant districts
  • Continue to drive the Greater Springfield Moving Forward process and help identify key funding sources for priority projects
  • Continue to grow community branding opportunities, improve visitor experiences and support downtown revitalization 

We have placed a quote from Martin Luther on a wall at the chamber to remind us of this road that we are on as a chamber and as a Greater Springfield community seeking to move forward.  It reads,

“This life, therefore, is not godliness, but the process of becoming godly, not health, but getting well, not being, but becoming, not rest, but exercise.  We are not now what we shall be, but we are on the way.   The process is not yet finished, but it is actively going on.  This not the goal, but it is the right road.”

The new year is a time for each of us to reflect on what is important and to press on toward the goals that we set for ourselves.  We at the chamber are doing just that, and we hope that you will do the same.

Enjoy a great 2014 and have a great Chamber day!

Value of the Arts

focus on arts

From left to right – Ted VanderRoest (moderator, Springfield Foundation), Ann Fortescue (Springfield Museum of Art), Stu Secttor (Clark State Performing Arts Center), Marta Wojcik (Westcott House), Kevin Rose (Hartman Rock Garden and Westcott Center for Architecture + Design), Robin Zimmann (Springfield Symphony Orchestra), Tim Rowe (Springfield Arts Council), Larry Coressel (Springfield Stageworks)

 649

Mike McDorman, President & CEO 

The Greater Springfield community is blessed to have a wealth of arts assets located right in its own back yard.    The leaders of these arts organizations work hard every day to provide an experience that one cannot find anywhere else.  At the chamber’s “Focus on the Arts” Luncheon last Friday, the business community got to hear firsthand why it is important to support the arts.

Representatives from several of Springfield’s leading arts organizations (Springfield Museum of Art, Springfield Arts Council, Clark State Performing Arts Center, Westcott House, Springfield Symphony Orchestra, Stageworks, and Hartman Rock Garden) came to speak about the present and future of arts in the area.  Together, these organizations have combined budgets of more than $4.5 million per year, and offer a product that cannot be easily found in a community this size.

Looking at the signature events for these organizations leaves an impression of a rich arts heritage. Among them are the Summer Arts Festival, which in its 48th season is believed to be the longest-running-free-admission program in the country; the Westcott House Walking Tours; and the Springfield Museum of Art Smithsonian affiliation exhibits.  There is also a Broadway series, an incredible concert schedule, and Stageworks that features local talent at the State Theater.

The biggest challenge that faces the arts community today is community engagement.  With many choices available in our world today, these arts organizations needs all of us to know what they are doing and to go participate with them.  The arts community has come together to provide easy access to information on upcoming events and happenings through the website, www.springfieldevent.com.  There is also the SpringfieldOH2Go mobile APP that has been developed to make it easier for people on the go to access this information.

The future success of these arts organizations will depend on the support they get from the community.  It is up to us to engage in the great arts opportunities that are happening throughout the year right here in Springfield.  You will be glad that you did!

Have a great chamber day!

 649Mike McDorman, President & CEO 

Every fall the chamber holds a themed event called The Golden Leaf Gala.  This year’s event featured a Monte Carlo night with Las Vegas style entertainers “Frank &  Dean … and Then Some.”

Each year one chamber member is awarded the distinguished Golden Leaf Award.

The Golden Leaf Award is presented to a member that exemplifies outstanding service to the chamber and to the Greater Springfield community.

Past winners include McGregor Metal Working, Hauck Brothers, Assurant Specialty Properties, Jeff Wyler Auto Group, and Clark State Community College.  Each of the organizations recognized have been very strong supporters of the chamber and this community for a long time, and this year is no exception.

In 2013 the Golden Leaf Award was presented to Konecranes Region Americas.  Konecranes is an 80 year old Finnish company that has grown into a leader in overhead cranes and lifting equipment, and is celebrating its 30th anniversary at its Springfield headquarters that is responsible for operations in North, South and Central America.

The business employs 350 people at its Prime Ohio Corporate Park location in Springfield.  Globally, the company has about 12,000 employees with 2,700 in 134 locations throughout Region Americas.  Its products include industrial overhead crane equipment and service, industrial lift trucks, and machine and tool service.  Konecranes serves industry segments that include automotive, manufacturing, mining, rail, paper, and steel.

Region Americas is led by Springfield native Tom Sothard.  Sothard has been a strong partner of the chamber and serves on its board of directors.  He has been instrumental in helping identify and bring expansion opportunities to the Springfield facility.  In 2009 the company completed a 24,000 square foot expansion.   In 2012, it added a global training and shared services center in the former county agricultural building located directly across the street in Prime Ohio.

As our community takes the path forward, let us not forget about companies like Konecranes that are helping us get to where we want to go.  We need to sustain our manufacturing base while continuing to diversify the job opportunities for the workers who will call Springfield home.  By continuing to expand their headquarters operations here in Springfield, Konecranes is doing both!

Congratulations to Konecranes Region Americas!  We are proud that you call Springfield  your Region Americas Headquarters home.

Have a great chamber day!

 649Mike McDorman, President & CEO 

There are a few times during the year when the whole community comes together to celebrate in a festive way.  Center City Association’s Holiday in the City, which is held every year on the Saturday after Thanksgiving, is arguably one of the best event of its kind anywhere.  In its 14th year, the daylong celebration kicks off the holiday season in style right in the heart of Springfield’s downtown.

An event of this magnitude takes a great deal of planning, financial support and approximately 200 volunteers to pull off.  A steering committee begins planning for the daylong festival seven months in advance.  This group not only plans the activities that will make the visitor’s experience special but also solicits much-needed financial support from sponsors, businesses, and individuals who understand the annual event’s importance to our community.  This committee also helps assemble the volunteers that it takes to run the many attractions located on and around the core block of downtown.

The day includes many attractions for the whole family to enjoy, especially the little ones.  Along with the Christmas tree and lights that can be seen on buildings throughout the core block, there is the pageant, the popular Santa Land, carriage rides and a carousel.  There are also street performers, food vendors and many other fun activities happening throughout the day.  This year’s event concluded with a parade that featured  a team of Clydesdale horses owned by Express Personnel Services, and of course, Santa Claus. Then it was time for the best fireworks yet!  All I can say is, “WOW!”

This year was extra special to me because, through the efforts of many, thousands of people were able to see the resurgence of office, retail, and restaurant activity happening in our downtown.  They could also see the hard work by the City of Springfield in the new brick-paver streetscapes and the two-way street conversion of Fountain Avenue between Main and Columbia.  These improvements will only help further the opportunities for investments to happen downtown and for those who have already invested to be successful.

For those of you who attended this year’s festivities at Holiday in the City, you have your own memories to share of such a wonderful event happening in Springfield’s core.  For those of you who didn’t attend, couldn’t attend, or didn’t know about it, make sure that you don’t miss it next year.  It is on the Saturday after Thanksgiving.  Remember, we do not have to wait until next year’s event to enjoy the stores and restaurants that are growing in our downtown.  They are open year round.

A special “thank you” to Center City Association, the many sponsors and donors, the volunteers, and to the thousands who came this year to enjoy Holiday in the City!

Have a Great Chamber Day!

 649Mike McDorman, President & CEO 

 

This is the time of year when we get together with family and friends to give thanks for the many blessings that each of us have been given. 

This year we need to give thanks for the quality healthcare system that is growing here in Springfield.  I have heard often throughout economic development circles that a community needs two things to be successful in attracting new investments and jobs:  Good hospitals and good schools.  Well, Saturday evening the community came together to support the cause of our hospital, and to celebrate the progress happening throughout our regional healthcare system.

Each year, the Community Mercy Foundation holds a Gala to benefit the health of our city and county.   This year’s event was fittingly themed “Our Town” and was held at Clark State’s Performing Arts Center and Hollenbeck Bayley Center.  The room was beautifully decorated with scenes from what downtown Springfield looked like several decades ago.  The theme “Our Town” speaks to Springfield’s treasured history, to the many new investments happening in our community today, and to the vision of our future as we continue to work together and DREAM BIG!hospital gala 2013

The proceeds from “Our Town” will be used to support the chronic disease management initiatives of Community Mercy Health Partners, Rocking Horse Community Health Center and the Clark County Combined Health District to better the health of our community.  A 2012 study of healthy counties in Ohio ranked Clark County in the lowest 10 percent of all Ohio counties.  This rating results in part from a growing number of individuals who lack a medical home to assist in chronic-disease management.  This collaborative effort will benefit those most in need who frequently rely upon emergency room visits for treatment of chronic diseases such as diabetes, congestive heart failure or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.  These initiatives, along with education and preventive screenings, will result in improved health and wellness for many.

As we enjoy our time together with family and friends this Thanksgiving Holiday, let’s not forget to stop and thank the one who gave each of us those blessings.  Let’s not forget to support our healthcare system, and the collaborative initiatives that are helping improve the wellness of our community.  Let’s not forget that each of us has an important role to play in making “Our Town” the best that it can be!

Blessings to you and your family on this Thanksgiving Day!

Have a great Chamber day!

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