Elections were held for a new board at the Greater Vail Area Chamber of Commerce June breakfast. Although I’m sad to be stepping down as President, I’m encouraged by the tremendous progress we made for the Vail community and the momentum we started.

This year, we unveiled a new tagline – “Influencing Vail’s future.” This tagline steered us into uncharted territory this year as we actively worked to increase our footprint in the area. We decided it was time to step up, to take a seat at the table and have a voice in how the greater Vail area develops so we can be sure we’re attracting the businesses the community wants. We did this in a few ways.

In September, we held our first ever town hall to bring an unbiased awareness to how the bond election would directly impact the greater Vail area. The community came out to hear from each organization that stood to benefit from the bonds about how they’d use the money if it passed. There was a question and answer session that gave the community members in attendance a voice.

In November, we brought the community face to face with businesses and fun at our annual Vail Country Fair, which is free for people to attend.

Also in November, we raised money for our local food and clothing bank as well as the Angel Tree, which is a part of the Vail School District.

In February, we awarded five Vail School District seniors with scholarships; and in May, we held our fifth annual golf tournament to raise money to award to seniors in the class of 2017.

In April, we had Congresswoman Martha McSally as our speaker at our first annual Celebration of Vail held at the Pima Air & Space Museum.

Throughout the year, we saw record-breaking attendance by our member base at our regular events. Local representatives and political candidates on both sides of the aisle took note and started making regular appearances to connect with our members. Businesses also took note and joined, increasing our membership by 15%.

Yes, this was a tremendous year for the chamber. As the old board passes our batons to the new, we know they’ll continue the momentum. I truly believe our chamber is moving in the right direction.  But, there is so much more to do.  We need to continue our drive to be proactive on the business front.  We need to encourage the right businesses to locate in our community and further improve our economic climate.  Time is of the essence.  There is going to be more commercial and residential development around us, and we see it as our job to continue to influence what that development looks like.

Next month, the new board will be revealed along with their plans for the upcoming year. In the meantime, I invite you to visit greatervailchamber.com to learn more about what the chamber is doing to Influence Vail’s future and get involved.

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