Lake Norman Chamber of Commerce
2017 Annual Report - Unabridged
Business Growth & Regional Advancement
• Promoted BusinessWorks! seminars: Cash Flow; Social Media; Selling; Marketing Strategies; Negotiation Skills; Networking; Best Business Practices; Communications; Business Planning; Dream Teams; Best Apps; and Small Business Trends. This year the Chamber collaborated with SCORE to coordinate BusinessWorks programs.
• Other Business Seminars have included: Simple Steps for Starting a Business; Reinventing Yourself; Networking 2.0; Managing your online reputation; Trade Show Selling; Tips for Job Seekers; Goal Setting.
• Hosted Quarterly Economic Forecast Lunch n’ Learns
• Promoted a Small Business Week kicked off by a lunch program – Lunch & Launch Innovations, dreams, and Community Branding keynoted by Alan Wilson, McCormick Spice with 139 attending. The week included programs with The Lake Norman Small Business Network, Business Leaders United, and culminated with the selection of a Small Business of the Year and finalists.
• Helped facilitate meetings and promoted Lake Norman e-Commerce with a mission to nurture and grow online commerce in the lake region.
• Chamber President made calls on businesses in the Towns of Cornelius, Huntersville and Davidson.
• The Chamber continued its partnership with SCORE. SCORE Executives have been utilizing the Chamber counseling businesses in Lake Norman. The Chamber refers local businesses to SCORE for counseling. In 2016, the Chamber created a workplace (phone and computer available to SCORE staff) at the Chamber. SCORE also trained volunteers at the Chamber.
• Maintained an employee bulletin board for jobs postings with HOHT and assisted with H.O.H.T. job fairs until they discontinued services this summer.
• The Chamber has assisted the Lake Norman Regional Economic Development Corporation which it helped create with the three North Mecklenburg towns. The Chamber's Chairman serves on the Board. The EDC's executive director is an ex-officio member of the Chamber Board and the Chamber's president is an ex-officio member of the EDC Board to improve communication and help facilitate economic development for the region. Also coordinated Two CEO Roundtables with the EDC: Legislative Wrap-up and Capital.
• Chamber President met with potential start-up businesses in regards to new business development in the Lake Norman region.
• Assisted a new Lake Norman HR organization
• Promoted the Small Business Administration (SBA) Emerging Leaders Program and recruited a candidate from North Mecklenburg.
• Hosted an Entrepreneurs Only Event at Port City Club.
• Hosted a Lunch and Learn on Microsoft Windows facilitated by a Microsoft Partner.
Communication & Technology
• Coordinated weekly e-Blasts delivered to over 2,550 email addresses weekly with the purpose of keeping our membership informed on all of our upcoming events. Also distributed the Presidents e-Brief on an as needed basis to keep the membership informed on current topics effecting business in the area.
• Regularly posts events/programs to Face Book and Twitter.
• Hosted small business social media programs and seminars.
• Distributed and mailed printed calendar of chamber events monthly called the Splash.
• Hosted BizNet monthly seminars to help members navigate the chamber website in a smaller one-to-one setting with Brett Zabek.
• Partnered with Lake Norman Currents Magazine on relocation magazine for the region called Great Lake Living.
• Continued promoting the Chamber's website.
• Researched and investigating new technology for Randy Marion Board Room.
• Monitored Website, Face Book, and Social Media statistics monthly engaging in several targeted campaigns.
• “Spotlighted” a Chamber Business and Nonprofit member weekly (beginning in November) on the website and distributing via social media.
• Hosted the Twelfth Annual Public Safety Luncheon recognizing local law enforcement, firemen, and EMS workers from the three North Mecklenburg towns, and Crime Stopper of the Year.
• Hosted meetings of Lake Norman nonprofits at the Chamber, Ada Jenkins, and Solomon House touring the facilities of Ada and the Solomon House after the program.
• Attended community breakfast at Urban League hosted by Duke Energy.
• Recognized a Duke Energy Citizen of the Year and Community Service Award Winner.
• Promoted Davidson College athletics.
• Promoted Loch Norman Highland Games, Sheep Dog Trials, and Carolina Renaissance Festival, and Lotta Foundation.
• Sponsored and promoted events such as Big Day at the Lake, Big Brother/Big Sister Fundraiser, Celebrity Bartender at Alton's for Big Day at the Lake,
• Promoted and supported programming with: Lake Norman Lions, Kiwanis Club, Aktion Club, Rotary (North Mecklenburg, Huntersville, Davidson and Lake Norman Clubs), Toastmasters, Southenders Photo Club.
• Assisted the three North Mecklenburg Towns supporting community events such as the North Mecklenburg Christmas Parade, Parks and Recreation, Hello Huntersville, Christmas Tree Lighting, Veterans Day, Veteran Parade, Farmers Markets, etc.
• Assisted the Lake Norman Small Business Network in the promotion of a Lake Norman Community Blood Drive.
Diversity Development Division
• Coordinated a Diversity Council comprised of minority business owners to examine issues in common with women and minority owned business owners and managers.
• Hosted fifth Annual Women's Conference “Shattering the Glass ceiling” keynoted by Dr Marsha Conston with 141 in attendance.
• Hosted the Diversity PowerLuncheon keynoted by Former NFL and UGA Hall of Fame Running Back Tim Worley and a diversity recognition program for smaller business (Charlotte Pediatric Dentistry & Orthodontics) and larger corporate businesses (Ensemble Health Partners) which recognize businesses that practice outstanding diversity management and a Diversity Champion Mecklenburg County Commissioner Pat Cotham. The event was attended by approximately 80 people.
• Participated and helped coordinate a Multi-Cultural Event in conjunction with the Smithfield Jazz Festival.
• Held four Lunch n’ Learns at CPCC Merancas Campus and Novant Health Huntersville Medical Center on issues ranging Cultural Diversity and Diversity in Disparity in Mental Health to Healthcare Diversity.
Lake Norman Education Collaborative
• Promoted the Lake Norman Education Collaborative with a mission to increase educational resources in North Mecklenburg.
• In 2017 the Collaborative focus shifted to Workforce Development hosting two speed networking events at Hopewell High School. One for Hospitality and Tourism and one for the Engineering Academy. We look to expand that program in 2018 to reach out to other area high schools and potentially middle schools as well since 8th grade students start choosing classes of interest for high school. The Chamber also participated in a Career Day at Pine Lake Prep.
• Working with the EDC, the Collaborative partnered with Keller Technologies and the Engineering Academy at Hopewell to provide support to the program as well as hosted three interns over the summer.
• The Chamber coordinated a school supply drive for area high schools. School Counselors now have access to supplies for students in need. We were able to deliver school supplies to all of our area high schools, both public and charter.
• Partnering with Cornelius and Huntersville Parks and Recreation, the Collaborative was able to deliver over 1000 tennis balls to area elementary schools.
• The ongoing efforts to build relationships with CMS and the business community have continued.
• Held a CEO Roundtable discussion on education with the EDC as well as participated in the Huntersville Mayor’s discussion and networking event on education.
• Working with the EDC in 2017-2018 in an attempt to bring Edge Factor to the area.
• Coordinated in partnership with CMS – North Learning Center officials a Speed Networking event at Hopewell High School and Career Day at Hough High School as well as Future Business Leaders of America Graduation. Hosted a PowerLuncheon with CMS Superintendents (Current and incoming) Dr. Ann Clark and Dr Clayton Wilcox.
• Hosted a Focus Friday with Charter and Private Schools.
• Assisted North Meck High School Auto Department with Fundraiser in conjunction with LKN Chamber Foundation.
• Co - Hosted the second North Mecklenburg Education Summit with Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools attended by approx. 180 people at Christ Covenant Church – Partnerships with a Purpose.
• Chamber President represented the Chamber on the Hopewell High School Hospitality and Tourism Academy Board.
Finance & Operations
• Issued Statements of Financial Position and Statements of Financial Activity to the Board of Directors and continues to maintain a positive cash flow, building reserves.
• Held finance committee meetings to include all Chamber staff and detailed review of accounts receivable to include in-depth discussion on open balances.
• Secured a line of credit in the event of an emergency $20,000.
• Conducted interviews to outsource Bookkeeping Services.
• The Chamber is a member of and active in the North Carolina Chamber of Commerce and the Carolinas Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives (CACCE).
• The Chamber's president is Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Hugh Torrance House & Store, ex-officio Board of Directors of the Ada Jenkins Center, Board of Directors of Visit Lake Norman, Board of Directors Lake Norman Economic Development Corp., Board of Directors of Our Towns Habitat (Chair of the Leadership Committee), Board of Directors of the Academy of Hospitality and Tourism - Hopewell High School (2017), member of the North Mecklenburg Rotary Club, member of the Lake Norman Kiwanis Club, Aktion Club Advisor, President of the Winthrop University Pi Kappa Phi Alumni Corporation, Board of Trustees United States Junior Chamber of Commerce Foundation.
• Promoted the Chamber's Office Depot program through communications and enclosing a program card in every 'Thank You' that was sent to new members and renewing members. The Office Depot program has generated $5,300 through 11/17. Last year the program generated $5,387 .by year end.
Membership Programs and Services
• Membership of 940 members.
• Membership Retention Rate 81.8%
• 131 members joined the Chamber thru 12/01 vs. 106 by year end 2016.
• 4 orientations were held at the Chamber with attendance ranging from 10 to 30 people.
• New member decals and Office Depot cards were distributed to new and renewing members.
• New marketing materials were ordered including Name Badges for Board Members and Ambassadors and rack cards/brochures.
• Reviewed investment schedule comparing in with other regional chambers of commerce and made a slight increase associated with new membership investments.
• The Vice Chair of Membership Services approved all Ambassadors after an application process.
• Ambassadors are expected to maintain certain standards in representing the Chamber.
• Past due statements for 30, 60 and 90 days were delivered via email and US Mail. New past due letters and drop letters written and signed by President are mailed.
• Overdue members are contacted by telephone, email or in person by Chamber Staff.
• Held 22 Business AfterHours and Mixers with an average attendance 50+.
• Held 7 Business BeforeHours / Speed Networking Events averaging between 35 - 50 attendees.
• Celebrated 34 Ribbon Cuttings
• Held 5 Power Luncheons with an average attendance 80
• 2017 Annual Banquet at Peninsula Yacht Club had 198 attendees.
• 2017 Business Expo held at Davidson College had 162 exhibitors
• 2017 Annual Golf Tournament held at Birkdale Country Club in collaboration with BLU with 128 golfers.
• Hosted 3 regional Speed Networking monthly with Sam's Club which including the Mooresville, Statesville, and Lake Norman Chambers of Commerce with 40-60 attending.
• Conducted and graduated 25 individuals from the Chamber's 20th Leadership Lake Norman program. Class XXI has 27 people enrolled.
• Continued to promote and encourage the Lake Norman Chamber Young Professionals who meet monthly for networking and business seminars and self-improvement programs. Close to 60 young professionals participate in the group.
• Chamber officers have attended government meetings (Town Board Meetings, Coffee Chats, Workshops) to keep abreast of local issues and their impact to the Lake Norman business community.
• Held Candidate Forums in Cornelius, Davidson and Huntersville for local boards as well as Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools.
• Met regularly with members of the press and issued statements on behalf of the Chamber and business community.
• Focus Friday briefings have been held on a variety of topics including: Regional Nonprofits, Three Town Manager Reports; Ramsey Creek Beach; Charter & Private Schools; 2017 Legislative Session (House Perspective); Highway #73 Council of Planning and Development along the NC 73 corridor; Creating an Arts Awareness at LKN; 2017 Wrap up on Legislative Session (Senate & House Perspective); CMS School Bonds; Road Building and LKN Regional Road Projects; 2017 Federal Tax Update; Ramsey Creek Beach Update.
• An Elected Officials luncheon was held, keynoted by NC Senator Jeff Tarte honoring our town boards, and recognizing outgoing elected officials.
• Conducted a Greater Statesville / Lake Norman Chamber Academy of Political Leadership to train, educate, and nurture candidates for local, county, and state office, regardless of political affiliation with the Greater Statesville Chamber of Commerce. Nine Candidates participated of which six ran for elected office and three were elected.
• Met with Duke Energy officials and representatives of the Lake Norman Marine Commission regarding Mosquito abatement and encouraged Mecklenburg County officials to continue the program in the Lake Norman communities of Huntersville, Davidson, Cornelius (Shoreline).
• Held discussions with the Lake Norman Marine Commission regarding the Hydrilla issue which is again becoming a potential threat to Lake Noman.
• Issued a Board Statement on HB 186 regarding the repeal / reset of the controversial HB2.
• Issued a Board Statement in regards to SB 313 regarding small brewing manufacturers.
• Issued a Board Statement opposing the $922 million CMS School Bond.
• The Chamber issued a resolution opposing toll lanes at Lake Norman in June 2015 and continued throughout 2017 holding weekly strategy meetings with key stakeholder groups and elected/business officials opposing the lanes, held workshops and business briefings educating the membership and public on the issue, conducting numerous television, radio, and print interviews, and made several trips to Raleigh meeting with our state delegation on the issue. Appointed representative to the I77 Policy Advisory Group.
• The Chamber has actively promoted and encouraged mass transit and other transportation alternatives for North Mecklenburg/Lake Norman through resolutions, press releases, newsletter articles, forums, hearings, and workshops.
• The Chamber has participated in the Charlotte Regional Chamber Briefings discussing transportation, economic development, public policy, and entrepreneurship.
• The Chamber has advocated road improvements and an access management study of NC Highway 73 since 1997 along with the Lincolnton-Lincoln County and Cabarrus Regional Chambers of Commerce. Since the conclusion of the study, the Chamber has appointed a past Chamber chairman as a member to the NC Hwy 73 Council of Planning.
• Hosted DOT Workshops on Huntersville exit 23 Exit 28 Torence Chapel Rd improvements as well as participate in community stakeholder groups on transportation projects.