The Jackson County Chamber of Commerce held its Annual Chamber Membership Meeting on October 17th, 2017, with new leadership and many announcements. The event took place at Hilton Garden Inn Pascagoula where over 325 members met together, enjoyed lunch and learned about the latest news with the Chamber. Lee Bond, Chairman of the Board (2016-2017) with Singing River Health System, passed the gavel to the 2017-2018 Chairman of the Board, Amy Brandenstein, Public and Government Affairs Community Affairs Representative at Chevron Pascagoula Refinery.
This year’s Presenting Sponsors were Bacot/McCarty Foundation, Chevron, Ingalls Shipbuilding, Jackson County Board of Supervisors, Mississippi Power, Omega Protein, Inc. and The Mississippi Press.
Bond reflected on the past year with the Chamber and the progress he has seen. Serving with Bond on the Chamber Executive Board, during the previous year, have been Chamber officers, L.P. “Brad” Bradford, Amy Brandenstein, Dorothy Shaw, Jerry St. Pé, Wayne Lennep, Todd Trenchard and Carla Todd Voda, President and CEO, IOM. The voting board was joined by ex-officio members from the cities, county, port, military and economic development.
Lee Bond, has worked with the Chamber’s Issue Manager Groups (IMG) on many opportunities for the business community throughout the year. Their success stories are numerous and include 28th Annual Jackson County Industrial Trade Show, thousands in business and façade grants, customer service training, Summer Learning Series, ANCHOR Awards, Small Business Walks, Breakfast Roundtables, 27th Anniversary of the Explosion of Excellence Scholarship Program, 27th Anniversary Class of Leadership Jackson County, 9TH Annual Taste of Jackson County, 16th Annual Jackson County Veterans Day Program, new Chamber communication pieces, 77 new members and many other benefits in the business community. Heading these Chamber projects were IMG chairmen Brenda H. Simkins, Trudi Dixon, Ellen Cole, Debbie McLendon and Debbie Anglin.
Bond also announced the 2017 Small Business Grant recipients. There were five companies presented with one hundred percent, corporate privately funded grants valued at $2,500 per business, benefitting the sustainability of their business. The grants are available to increase revenue for development and expansion of small businesses through investing in sustainable marketing which includes marketing materials (including websites), storefront and/or customer area improvements, display for merchandise and other ways that can grow businesses. The recipients of this year’s Small Business Grant were Community Care Network, Inc.; Family Frozen Foods, Inc.; Nura Juice; Dr. Jeffrey L. Knight Family Dentistry; and Home of Grace.
Incoming Chairman Amy Brandenstein of Chevron Pascagoula Refinery, will be working with many of the continuing Chamber directors including new Board members for the upcoming year. She stated in the 2017-2018 Program of Work, “Together, the business community can accomplish goals that we may have never thought were possible. I look forward to this year and leading together for our future.”
Awards were also presented. Yvette Barr, Director of Membership Communications for the Chamber, along with Renee Pettis of Compton Engineering, Inc., and Chamber Ambassador Chairman, presented the Ambassador of the Year award, which goes to an Ambassador volunteer who has exuded the qualities of being the public relations arm of the Chamber and donating their times and talents to benefit the membership, to Regina Moore, a Human Resources Generalist for the City of Pascagoula.
Carla Todd Voda and Evelyn McCarty presented the Jolly P. McCarty Award of Excellence in Leadership, which goes to someone who has been dedicated to the Chamber and has used their strength in leadership to move forward the Chamber, its membership and the community. This award went to Dorothy Shaw, Director of Compliance, Ethics & Community Affairs for Ingalls Shipbuilding in Pascagoula.
Chairman Amy Brandenstein would like to continue the work that was done under Lee Bond’s leadership in the past year through continued participation by the membership. She wants to encourage everyone to be engaged in the Chamber, so that together all can fulfill the Mission of the Jackson County Chamber of Commerce of “supporting commerce and promoting growth to enhance the quality of life in Jackson County.”