Final Thoughts and Reflections
It’s traditional to use Thanksgiving as a time to reflect and, as the old saying goes, there’s always something to be thankful for. To be sure, it’s going to take some serious reflection and more than a few life vests to save 2020 from being a thankless year, but I’ll do my best. This may be the perfect time to look back on my involvement with the Lake County Chamber of Commerce as I conclude my third and final year as president.
In some ways, my three years as president have flown by. Well maybe flown by like in a hot air balloon rather than a jet but flying is flying right? Don’t get me wrong, this experience has been very rewarding and, at the top of the list of importance, is the people I have met. Working with current and past Board members has been, rewarding and interesting to say the least but it has been my interactions with local merchants that have been the most gratifying.
There is no need for me to remind anyone of what our county has gone through the past 5 years, I have watched as local businesses have worked their tails off to recover time after time, fire after fire, set back after setback to keep their doors open. What I have found that goes unnoticed is what the Chamber does, day to day to act as the watchdog for the Lake County business community.
What is the value of having an organization stand before the Board of Supervisors time after time, to show support for a proposed business project or an existing business seeking support? What is the value of having a local organization keep a watchful eye on seemingly innocuous assembly bills being proposed at the state level that could potentially do great harm to your business and way of life? I have found that you have that and much more with your local Chamber of Commerce.
Whoever steps into this position for 2021, will have some challenges but they will have the benefit of a strong group of past presidents and Chamber staff to offer council and guidance. LCCC Executive Director Melissa Fulton is at the top of that list of mentors. As past president Tom Lincoln confided; “…the importance of a Chamber president being attached at the hip of the executive director [is paramount to a successful term in office].”
I will always be grateful for Melissa’s guidance and the rapport we developed over the past 3 years. That is not to say our thoughts were always aligned, we didn’t always agree and if I had a nickel for every time Melissa “respectfully disagreed” with me, well, I’d need a pair of those cargo pants with a half dozen pockets. The mutual respect got us through the differences with the understanding that, we were both striving for whatever was best for the Lake County Chamber of Commerce and the County of Lake.
So, I will close the door on my way out and wish everyone the best as we collectively kick 2020 in the tail and God willing, look forward to a healthy and prosperous 2021. Happy Holidays Lake County!