This column is my last as the Chair of your Chamber’s Board of Directors. Starting Oct. 1, Bobbi Thury, Legacy Law Firm P.C., will become Chair and will lead the Chamber forward into 2020. I hope you and your close associates will join me at the Chamber’s annual meeting on Oct. 22 as we celebrate a successful past year and hear Bobbi’s vision for the coming year at the Chamber.
Maintaining a high quality of life and a strong economy so that everybody can prosper is what we strive to do every day.
As I look back on this incredible year, I am blown away by the extremely high quality of volunteers and staff working with the Sioux Falls Area Chamber of Commerce. The committees are strong and collaborative. We work closely with the CVB, Development Foundation, Forward Sioux Falls, the City of Sioux Falls, the counties and schools and many other organizations in pursuit of our shared desired to make Sioux Falls and the state of South Dakota the best place to live and prosper.
Our Chamber partnered with the Rapid City Chamber of Commerce last fall in an advocacy trip to Washington D.C., including a visit to the Pentagon. I would like to think our visit helped demonstrate our state’s strong commitment to supporting our military. Ultimately, the Air Force elected to put the primary training base for the new B-21 bombers at Ellsworth Air Force Base east of Rapid City. This was a great victory for the whole state of South Dakota. A contingent of Chamber staff and volunteers will return to D.C. this month to continue the important work of making our voices heard at the federal level.
One of the most satisfying interactions for me personally this year was the opportunity to tour businesses owned by immigrants to our community. A fellow board member, Christy Nicolaisen of the Multi-Cultural Center, organized a dozen tours of different business owned by immigrants and minorities. Most of these folks have been pushed around to different countries before getting the opportunity to emigrate to America. Upon arrival, they started working and eventually saved enough money to start their own business. I was impressed by their positive attitude about living in America, despite the many challenges they encounter, such as learning the language and business regulations. These visits reminded me of how lucky we all are to live and prosper here in America. Maintaining a high quality of life and a strong economy so that everybody can prosper is what your Sioux Falls Area Chamber of Commerce strives to do every day.
I wish all the best to Jason Ball as he takes over leadership of the chamber of commerce in Round Rock, Texas. He has been a dynamic leader for us, and we are grateful for the time he invested in our community. With Dr. Dave Kapaska in place as Interim President, I fully expect our Chamber to move forward without missing a beat. A search is already underway for the next President & CEO, and we look forward to identifying our next great leader!
Thank you for the privilege of serving as Chair of your Chamber. The future is bright!