Now that we have kind of settled into a “new normal” routine, I wanted to bring you up to date on what we are doing at the Chamber to help our members and community work through these difficult times.
The Chamber Blog
I want to take a brief moment to discuss what is on the minds of our community as we navigate what the next several weeks and months will look like for Decatur-Morgan County relating to COVID-19 in the State of Alabama and in the north Alabama region.
As students enter high school, they often hear the questions, “What are your plans after school?” This well-meaning question posed by family members, teachers, and administrators can cause a fair amount of anxiety for the student that doesn’t have their life planned to their career.
As a community, it is important for us to look back and reflect on a year of news and events that have brought us to where we are today. At times, the news around us is focused on conflict, which drowns out the news we should celebrate. There is much happening in Decatur-Morgan County that shows our high quality of life, and we need to tell that story.
With that thought in mind, the Chamber would like to share the top five stories from 2019 that make us excited for the future of Decatur-Morgan County.
I’m on social media on a not-so-regular basis. My Facebook feed is made up mostly of pictures of my friends’ cute dogs, recipes or encouraging notes from friends and families. To be honest, that’s really all I want to see. But there are these memes and a hashtag I’ve seen floating around lately: #FOMO.
Residential development is a hot topic these days. With the economy on the upward swing and job opportunities continuing to evolve, you would think that residential development would be the next obvious area of growth, but is it?
It’s hard to believe that this my tenth year to participate in the Chamber’s Total Resource Campaign (TRC) for Decatur and Morgan County. When my employer first talked to me about volunteering with TRC, I was skeptical that I had anything to offer. He encouraged me to attend the training session before I made a decision. I was met with some of the most friendly and energetic co-volunteers who were eager to help a beginner learn the process. The staff at the Chamber was also a tremendous support group, reassuring me that I was in the right place!
There is much to be said about all that is happening in Decatur, Morgan County and our region. From downtown revitalization to comprehensive planning and major industrial growth and investment. Through all of these amazing things, one common factor is emerging: young professionals are on the rise.
It is time to prepare for a new year. As a community, it is important for us to look back and reflect on a year of news and events that have brought us to where we are today. At times, the news around us is full of conflict, which often drowns out the news we should celebrate. There is much happening in Decatur-Morgan County that shows our high quality of life, and we need to tell that story.
With that thought in mind, the Chamber would like to share the top five stories from 2018 that make us excited to be in Decatur-Morgan County.
I’ve been in and around the construction industry my whole life. It’s the family business, and being around it for as long as I have, I’ve come to understand there are certain principles to live by. One I’ve adopted over the years that always seems to be true: If you don’t start with a plan, it’s not going to work.
I’m writing this now thanks entirely to the work of a teacher. Not the message, necessarily, though that’s certainly the case as well, but the actual words, strung together in a sentence with nouns, verbs and adjectives to complete a thought from start to finish. And if you’re able to read this, you owe the same debt to an educator who opened your eyes for the first time.
Each day as I drive into the 3M site in Decatur, I’m reminded that across the entire site the one thing that makes our organization a success is our people.
Anyone in industry - a plant manager or a newly minted co-op student or a production operator - will tell you success comes from a trained team of professionals who understand they are a part of a team. They understand for their coworker to do their job well that they themselves have to focus on and succeed at the task at hand.
The 2018-2019 school year will be historic for Decatur City Schools.
We will be moving into two brand new, state-of-the-art high school facilities and launching a Career Technical Center on the old Austin High campus. The high schools will launch new career academies that will help parents and students identify potential college and/or career pathways, helping steer young people on a course to success. Our high schools will also begin a 1-to-1 ChromeBook initiative that will provide every student in 9-12 grades with a laptop. And that's not all. Not by a long shot.
All over the state, at every level of government, the issue of fixing Alabama’s crumbling road and bridge system is a policy matter that has risen to the forefront over the past few years. Alabamians are looking for answers to address the ever-growing list of road and bridge problems that plague our state, county and city roadways.
As any professional marketer or communicator will tell you, getting your message to break through and land with your target audience is the difference between getting lost in the noise and success for your brand.
Breaking through requires something different. Something outside the norm. But it also requires doing your research on how to find your audience. Gone are the days of buying an ad in a newspaper and KNOWING people would be talking about it the next day. Now, it’s about page clicks, impressions and return on investment (ROI). Marketing is now very different, but the Chamber understands that.
When someone asks me “what does the Chamber do, anyway?” there are a long list of potential answers. Promotes the development of a healthy business community… advocates for public policy that helps recruit high-paying jobs… executes leadership programs that prepare the next generation of leaders… the list could go on and on.
But my favorite answer is always “the Chamber is in the quality-of-life business.”
At the end of the day, we all want to belong.
When I came to Decatur from Natchez, Miss., in 1991 to become president of this Chamber, my wife and I quickly became connected to the community. I met elected officials with whom I’d be working with on public policy issues. I connected with business owners and entrepreneurs who were innovative in their craft and creating something new you couldn’t find anywhere else. I met with education leaders about connecting the business community and students to prepare the next generation workforce. We all shared stories about what motivated us in the work we did and what we valued at the end of the day.
The Decatur Jaycees have been called many things; everything from “good stewards” and “the future of our community” to “wild” and “rowdy young folks.” Many people have heard of the Jaycees, maybe because of Riverfest, or maybe even from the Morgan County Fair back in the day. But few know who we really are or our true purpose in the city of Decatur.
As we prepare for our transition into 2017, there is much talk about the top stories, the top newsmakers and the like in our daily media diet. With the divisiveness of political campaigns and conflicts around the world, it can be a challenge to remember we live in a great community and in the greatest country on the planet.
There are many, many stories among us that highlight the good in our community. We are headed in a positive direction, and this is an incredibly exciting time to live in Decatur and Morgan County. With that thought in mind, the Chamber would like to share the top five stories from 2016 that make us excited to be in Morgan County.
Positive news is here in Decatur and you don’t have to look too hard to find it. While election seasons unfortunately bring with it forecasts of gloom and doom, when faced with facts, the weather looks bright for the River City.
Individually, each of the following is a flash of good news. Collectively, it shows a trend. The business climate in our city is strong.
What is one quality you love about the United States? There are a hundred responses you could give, and they is not one “right” answer. However, there is one thing everyone can agree makes our country strong: the ability to vote.
In our history, hundreds of thousands – maybe even millions – of people have died to protect our right to vote. It is our voice in shaping the future of our country. No one under any circumstance should take that right for granted.
But what is just as important as the right to vote, is the willingness of citizens to stand up and say “I want to lead.”
Oftentimes, the subject of long-term care and the needs of aging relatives is the elephantin the room. No one wants to talk about it, but addressing it now and making plans early can result in more options and less stress for everyone in the family. It’s a decision that impact the “baby boomers” in our community who are integral to the history of our area.
The importance of effective communication in the workplace cannot be stressed enough. It is an indispensable entrepreneurial skill that can be learned and nurtured for improved productivity and successful achievement of goals.
North Alabama – specifically our beloved Tennessee River – is known as one of the richest bodies of water for sports fishing in the country. That's not just my opinion. Drive by Ingalls Harbor boat launch and the Pavilion during a tournament weekend and count the number of boat trailers. Better yet, count the number of different state license plates on those trailers. This area's reputation for sport fishing is represented in the diversity of the states that come here, both for recreation and competition.
If you live in Morgan County, you know what a great community this is to live, work and play. Awarding winning and high test score achieving school systems, low cost of living, several Fortune 500 companies who are engaged in the community and natural beauty that rival any other part of our country.
But sometimes, we have to remember to tell people about it.
It is the season when we read and see lists about the year past. In newspapers and on television we see "Top 10 Stories of 2014," "Most Read Stories of 2014," "Most Intriguing People of 2014," "Top Photos of 2014," etc. It seems like, more often than not, these stories are not of a positive nature.
If we were to make our list in Morgan County it would be stories about events and people who are changing our community in a very positive way. With that tone in mind, here is your Chamber's "Top Five Stories of 2014 That Make Us Proud to be from Morgan County."
Ask any realtor, and they will tell you the three most important factors in their business are location, location and location.
The same can be said when you're looking to market you own business or organization. Getting in front of the right audience at the right time can mean success or failure for your brand. So doesn't it make sense to use your marketing dollars in the most efficient ways possible?
This is why the Chamber's Total Resource Campaign (TRC) should matter to you.
500 volunteers. 500 volunteers hammering nails, painting walls, washing windows, cutting grass, gathering paper products. Each year, the second Tuesday of September arrives with Morgan County's finest stepping up to make a difference in our community.
As many know, this Chamber is about to embark on a capital campaign – the first in nearly five years. And as part of our pre-campaign feasibility study, our consultants gathered much insightful feedback regarding the Chamber's perceived performance to date and the plans for the future. Our consultants forced the interviewees to rank our program of work in relative importance to them. The results were telling.