Chamber pushing local industry to hire local employees

Published 12:12 am Saturday, January 21, 2017

2017 Chamber leadership sets goals following great year

DESTREHAN — Coming off perhaps one of its most successful years, the River Region Chamber of Commerce turned toward the future this week with its annual installation of the 2017 officers.

Judge Jude Gravois of the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals handled the swearing in of officers, the new board of directors and advisory board, which included several new faces.

“Today signifies a new beginning,” Executive Director Chassity McComack said. “We have some new board members that are going to bring a different challenge to the table. It’s a new year, new ideas, new energy — just new. It’s really exciting. Let’s pick up on the good we did last year and make it better.”

Chamber Executive Director Chassity McComack speaks at Thursday's event.

Chamber Executive Director Chassity McComack speaks at Thursday’s event.

In her address to the membership Thursday at Ormond Plantation, McComack touted the organization’s 2016 successes, including its Mid-Size Chamber of the Year award for the state of Louisiana.

McComack said the organization is ineligible this year, but may apply again in two years.

“I’ve got two years to put some new things in so we can apply again,” she said.

In the meantime, McComack said there is a new state accreditation program she would like to apply for in the fall.

“It’s very in-depth and it takes about a year,” she said. “It’s really geared toward the larger Chambers. It’s hard for the smaller Chambers to get the five stars. It’s doable, but difficult.”

To reach those ends, McComack hopes to see the local Chamber continue to use the resources available to it.

“I hope that we can continue to build coalition with our local government and our community resources, such as our technical college and our community college, as well as our business community of all sizes,” McComack said. “I envision that we have more cohesion and more coalition-building to be able to truly be the support they need.”

Annette Wray is continuing her term as chair through 2017.

She said her vision focuses on workforce development and collaborating with all organizations in the tri-parish area to come up with opportunities for people to be more marketable.

“We want our local industries to be hiring locals, not bringing in people from out of state,” she said. “We’re going to take that responsibility and see what we can do with it.”

Annette Wray will continue as Chamber of Commerce Board chairwoman in 2017.

Annette Wray will continue as Chamber of Commerce Board chairwoman in 2017.

The 2017 officers include Chair Elect Kim B. Bourgeois, Treasurer Aaron Cancielle, Past Chair Nathan Stein, Secretary John Little and Vice Chair Ralph Phillip.

Board members are Paul Aucoin, Wesley Hawley, Kevin Hebert, Bill Ironside, Kerry Jones, Kent Lomax, Bub Millet, Stephen Robinson, Bill Simoni, Gloria Trahan, Jordan Tremblay and Wayne Vicknair Jr.

Advisory board members are Stephanie Bell, Glen Duncan, Penny Freeman, Steven Fraker, Angela Golden and Gary Silbert.