For the Mount Airy Chamber of Commerce the organization’s annual meeting is one of the biggest events of the year. Chamber President Randy Collins suggests that you don’t let the name fool you; it is far from a stuffy business meeting.
This year’s meeting is scheduled for Jan. 27 from 6:30 – 9 p.m. at Cross Creek Country Club in Mount Airy. At the annual meeting, Collins and the chamber will “roll out the new year to the members.” They offer a chance to look at the year ahead and the goals the chamber has.
The theme for this year’s event is “Recognizing the Past, Embracing the Future” and a year in review slideshow will allow another chance to reflect on the work from the previous year.
Outgoing Chair of the Board Chris Lumsden of Northern Regional Hospital will offer comments and will welcome the new Chair, Connie Hamlin of RidgeCrest. The new 2022 board of directors for the chamber will be introduced as well.
This year an additional emphasis will be placed on giving recognition to the chamber’s work and members of years past. Past chairpersons and former Citizen of the Year honorees are being welcomed back as part of the recognition component.
The keynote speaker for this year’s annual meeting is Dr. Swanson Richards who Collins lauded as a “great resource for this community” for his decades of service to Surry County.
Remembered to many as the long serving president of Surry Community College from 1972-1994, Richards is also past chair of the chamber. He also had the honor of being selected for the “very prestigious” recognition of Citizen of the Year in 1980.
This is the chamber’s time to let loose a bit even though the name makes it sound like a business meeting, Collins said. “We try to have some fun.” With tickets available from the Chamber of Commerce website, or through the phone, the public is welcome to join. Guests will enjoy cocktails and dinner, and Jansen Huff will tickle the ivories for entertainment in addition to the guest speakers.
Business is business though, and what is a Chamber of Commerce event but a chance to meet and greet? This event embodies the essence of networking, and the chamber relishes playing a part in facilitating the business growth of its members.
Big businesses and small ones alike join the Chamber of Commerce for many reasons. What they get in return is an alliance of business people in their community who are driven by the same desire for success. Having a network of business subject matter experts in the community in which they live can be invaluable to any size business.
Chamber members support one another when they can, often in terms of cross promotion of events. In a small community like this, any additional support could have a large impact on a small business. “I wish we could do more,” Collins said.
The chamber is tireless in its efforts to find ways in which to aid the growth of the local economy for all its members and non-members alike. By an economic philosophy that “a rising tide lifts all boats,” a robust and growing economy will help all local players and grow the tax base. That growth is a winning proposition for the whole county.
The culmination of the annual meeting is the event with Collins calls “the icing on the cake,” the Citizen of the Year. These residents have been submitted for consideration by their peers, by those who have seen what they do when others may have not.
The slate of candidates this year was fuller than years past; Randy Collins was not sure why this may be. The general spirit of goodwill that pervades this community may have something to do with it. “This region has a lot of people who give back; in their professional lives, personal lives, and business lives.”
There were so many more submissions though, fifteen compared to a normal year when “four or five” was the normal count. These honors from the chamber are as good as it gets when it comes to local recognition, so that there are 15 people deserving of a nomination is surely a good problem for Collins and the chamber to have.
A tight lipped Collins would not let any information slip about who the Citizen of the Year for 2021 will be. That honoree will be featured at mtairynews.com on Friday, Jan. 28 and in the Sunday, Jan. 30 print edition.
Early registration for the annual meeting is open through Jan. 15, standard registration runs Jan. 16 -24. Pricing for single tickets is $50 during early registration, $55 during standard. Non-chamber members are welcome to attend for $60 per ticket.
To reserve a table for eight is $400 during early registration, $440 during the standard registration period, and $480 for non-members.
More information can be found at: mtairychamber.org, where an Annual Meeting Tickets link is found on the homepage. Or, call the Mount Airy Chamber of Commerce at 336-786-6116.