During the Annual Membership Meeting of the Hancock Chamber and Community Development Foundation, members of the boards of directors will announce 2017 priorities for economic and organizational development for the business community.
“We surveyed our members and they told us what they want us to focus on,” said Angelyn Treutel Zeringue, 2016 President of the Hancock Chamber. “Through the 2017 strategic plan we will deliver initiatives to achieve the goals.”
Some of the priorities Chamber members want the community to focus on include: a strategic plan for economic development beyond industrial development; increased marketing to enhance the image of the county; improved processes to work with business investors; cooperative government that supports and encourages growth; tax incentives to attract investment; advocating for lower insurance rates; planned residential developments; and, improved transportation corridors to attract new residents.
During a joint boards planning session, led by veteran strategist John Weibmer, the Chamber and Foundation boards identified five major strategic areas to focus on during 2017: economic development; relocation campaigns; government relations; revenue development; and, growth at Stennis Space Center.
Some of the programs include: continuing the business retention and expansion program with the Port & Harbor Commission; providing technical assistance to small businesses; continuing Leadership Hancock County; expanding education programs; supporting partners to pursue hotel developments; continuing the greenways and by-ways programs; and, developing tourism both regionally and locally.
In the area of relocation, the boards plan to focus on residential and commercial investment strategies; continue the beautification efforts; and, advocate for affordable insurance. In the area of government relations, they plan to improve communications with government officials to support issues to achieve mutual community goals, including plans for the Gulf Oil Spill funds. In the area of revenue development, they will seek ways to expand membership growth and involvement, and continue marketing support to government partners and member businesses. They will also continue the Women’s Leadership program, and the Kiln Business Council. Several new programs are also being established which include the new Hancock Young Professionals program, the Hancock Chamber Economic Development Council, and committees to focus on government relations and membership growth and involvement. Chairs for each of these initiatives will be announced during the annual meeting.
During the meeting, members will also find out more about the upcoming Mississippi Bicentennial Celebration South at Centennial Plaza in Gulfport on March 31 and April 1 from Gulfport Mayor Billy Hewes. George Schloegel, chairman of the Bicentennial Committee for South Mississippi will tell members how they can get involved in the event to promote Hancock County. The Chamber will also announce the 2017 recipient of the Annual Jody Compretta Person of Passion for outstanding contributions to community and economic development in Hancock County.
Cathy Wilson of the Hancock School District will be installed as 2017 President of the Hancock Chamber; and, Leslie Henderson of Lazy Magnolia Brewing Company will be named Chairman of the Hancock Community Development Foundation. Entertainment will be provided by the Bay Ratz Marching Battery and the South Hancock Choir.
“The Chamber is a critical resource for the community to bring together business, civic and governmental leaders to create jobs and increase prosperity for all of our citizens,” said Tish Williams, executive director of the Chamber and Foundation. “We value partnerships, regional cooperation, respect, integrity and results. Our goals are to be the leading force and voice for business; to launch advocacy initiatives that will transform our community and our region; and, to focus on our members by providing relevant, value added benefits and programs through superior customer service.”
If you have been considering joining the Hancock Chamber of Commerce as a non-profit, individual or business, go to www.hancockchamber.org or call 228-467-9048 for information on how you can market your business through the Chamber and become involved in the community. To reserve your seat for the Annual meeting, call the Chamber.