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Coming off record year, Chamber seeks more growth

Officials with the Greater Mount Airy Chamber of Commerce hope 2020 will be a big year.

It will have to be to top the organization’s achievements in 2019.

Speaking during the chamber’s annual meeting Thursday night at Cross Creek Country Club, John Philips, immediate past chairman, walked the audience through a list of unprecedented accomplishments the chamber has seen over the past 12 months.

He told those gathered — a record 300 for the annual meeting — the chamber had added 100 new members during 2019, bringing the total to 607, crossing the 600-mark for the first time in the chamber’s history.

Philips said in 2018, he along with other leaders of the chamber put together a long-term strategic plan, with one of the goals that of reaching 600 members by the end of 2020.

“We had 530 members,” he said. “At the time, there was some discussion as to whether it (600) was even doable.”

Not only was it doable, but the organization reached the goal a year early — an achievement he credited to the work of membership director Cristie Andrews.

Part of what has made the agency successful over the past year is its ability to generate revenue. While chamber dues pay for some of its expenses, he said activities throughout the year — awards luncheons, after-hours events, the Autumn Leaves Festival, and others — each have a revenue budget to meet.

Under the direction of Travis Frye, who serves the dual role of program and events director along with Autumn Leaves Festival director, every event met and exceeded its budget during the year.

He said Mallory Smith, chamber marketing manager, kept its events and people front and center with photos and social media posts — seen by more than 600,000 people throughout the year.

And Randy Collins, the chamber’s president and CEO, he called the team’s coach. “A visionary. He’s results-oriented. He took that strategic plan” and used it to guide everything they did.

Philips wanted to recognize the work of the chamber’s leadership team to honor their achievements, but also to emphasis a belief he has regarding business.

“The success of my business does not depend on me. It depends on my team.”

Philips then gave way in his remarks to James Etringer, who is the 2020 board chair.

Etringer is a lifelong resident of Mount Airy. While being a native son carries advantages, it can also make for some quick-thinking when hobnobbing among those who’ve known you all your life.

“I’ll tell you what blows my mind,” he said to Thursday’s audience as he gazed at several tables where chamber board members sat. “Some of the board members were my teachers in school. … I’ll work to hopefully be a better chairman than I was a student,” he said to general laughter throughout the dining room.

As is the case with every incoming chairman, Etringer said he has goals he wants to follow up on.

One is a refresh of the strategic plan, given that it’s in its third year, though he was quick to say he really didn’t want to change that too much.

The biggest area he seemed to emphasis was the chamber’s ambassador program. The chamber ambassadors are individuals from chamber members who work with other organizations in the community, helping them understand and utilize the chamber’s available resources.

“I want the ambassador program to personally reach out and touch all 600 chamber members,” he said.

That, he believes, will help make the chamber more valuable to its memberships — and that’s among his top goals, to add value to those who join the organization.

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Immediate Past Vice Chairman John Philips addresses 300 people gathered at Cross Creek Country Club Thursday night for the Greater Mount Airy Chamber of Commerce annual meeting.
https://www.mtairynews.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/01/web1_20200123_195827.jpgImmediate Past Vice Chairman John Philips addresses 300 people gathered at Cross Creek Country Club Thursday night for the Greater Mount Airy Chamber of Commerce annual meeting. John Peters | Mount Airy News

2020 Greater Mount Airy Chamber of Commerce Chairman James Etringer outlines some of his hopes and goals for the coming year.
https://www.mtairynews.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/01/web1_20200123_201859dddd.jpg2020 Greater Mount Airy Chamber of Commerce Chairman James Etringer outlines some of his hopes and goals for the coming year. John Peters | Mount Airy News

By John Peters

jpeters@mtairynews.com

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Source: https://www.mtairynews.com

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