Editor’s Note: Specht Newspapers, Inc. President, David A. Specht, Jr., is Chairman of the Bossier Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors for 2016. In the column space below, the Bossier Press-Tribune is printing Chairman Specht’s speech from the Chamber’s 68th Annual Gala held last Thursday night at Bossier City’s CenturyLink Arena.
Emile Cordaro, thank you for your service to the Bossier Chamber as 2015 Board Chairman, to our region, and to our business community throughout 2015. I think I can speak for everyone when I say that it has been an honor to work with you this past year.
Folks, it’s no secret that the Bossier community has seen tremendous growth over the past several years; and there’s only more growth in store. The Bossier Chamber’s role in sustaining this growth is to:
SUPPORT the community and the businesses we represent by providing unique OPPORTUNITIES to showcase their businesses
ADVOCATING on behalf of their best interests
Continuing to develop lasting
PARTNERSHIPS that attribute to growth
And finally, to provide businesses with the leading EDUCATION resources to help sustain growth
The Chamber is proud to have a program of work that meets the memberships’ needs. Some of these examples can be found in our top events and services. For example, the Annual Gala continues to grow – with record breaking attendance each year. The Bossier Youth Leadership Program continues to train future community leaders with help from the Bossier Parish Schools. Public Policy programs expanded in 2015, offering more choices for members to participate in. The Bossier Chamber takes care of military and families through various programs and events such as the Month of Military Child and annual job fairs. The Bossier Chamber will continue to recognize our Healthcare Industry; our First Responders and our Educators.
But we are not limiting ourselves there. We are responding to the community’s growth by offering even more, new and exciting endeavors in the coming year.
In 2016, we have launched a new program E.P.I.C – Entrepreneurs and Professionals in the Community; A program that focuses on strengthening and connecting entrepreneurs through local resources, mentoring, collaboration and networking. And, we will expand our Education programs to include the Education and Innovation Luncheon: Inspiring Women in STEM.
The Bossier Chamber of Commerce now includes two 501(c) 3s to help boost the economic and social welfare of our area. With the introduction of the Bossier Innovates initiative, the Chamber established the Bossier Innovates Foundation in 2015.
The foundation will work in 2016 to build
for the enhancement and expansion of existing programs as well as to facilitate collaborations with community partners to continue to promote Bossier and its ready workforce and diverse opportunities.
Shreveport-Bossier Supports Barksdale, or SB Squared, which became a subsidiary of the Bossier Chamber in 2014, received a name change in 2015 to reflect a broader scope of work — the Northwest Louisiana Military Support Foundation. The organization name now reflects support of all military branches within the region. This military foundation will raise funds to benefit military families, through communication of special offers and events as well as direct support initiatives, in part with the Airmen and Family Readiness Center (AFRC).
Both of these foundations, as 501(c)3 organizations, will seek funding through all available resources, including but not limited to supporter contributions and grants.
As you can see, we have a busy year ahead as we celebrate and support – you and the community – for economic sustainability and growth. All of this could not happen without your support and the support of the Community Partners and the Bossier Chamber Board of Directors. Joining me on the 2016 Executive Team of the Board will be:
- Chair Elect, Terry Moore, Merrill Lynch
- Finance Chair, Dana Smelser Christus Health
- Past Chair, Emile Cordaro, AEP SWEPCO
- Investor Relations Chair, Matt Locke, Locke
- Government Relations & Public Policy Chair,
Barry Regula, Margaritaville Casino Resort &
- Marketing Chair, GB Cazes, Cyber Innovation
- Special Events Chair, Rick Holland, Gibsland
Bank & Trust
- Military Relations Chair, West Anderson,
- Bossier Innovates Chair, Sandy Cimino,
Community Bank of Louisiana
Joining the full board as new Director for 2016 is Gary Hubbard with Hubbard Investments representing the Greater Bossier Economic Development Foundation. However, being on the board is nothing new to him as he is the 2008 past chairman of the board of directors.
I look forward to working with you, our elected officials, Team Barksdale, and chamber partners to help bring new opportunities and to make our region a better place to work, live and play.
Thank you for coming to this evening’s celebration of 2015. For the year ahead, we look forward to Connecting Business to Business through opportunity, education, partnership and advocacy. We wish you all a wonderful evening.
David A. Specht, Jr. is President of Specht Newspapers, Inc.