Up & Coming Weekly

October 20, 2020

Up and Coming Weekly is a weekly publication in Fayetteville, NC and Fort Bragg, NC area offering local news, views, arts, entertainment and community event and business information.

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WWW.UPANDCOMINGWEEKLY.COM OCTOBER 21-27, 2020 UCW 7 JUN 16 JUN 27 U P C O M I N G E V E N T S 225 RAY AVE. SUITE 165, FAYETTEVILLE (910) 483-8133 | FAYBIZ.COM JUN 30 O C T 21 Home Town Hero Blood Drive 225 Ray Ave. Parking Lot 1:00 PM Register Online O C T 22 Virtual Speed Networking 1:00 PM Register Online Space is limited O C T 26 Financial IQ 7:00 PM Register Online I will be leaving my role as President & CEO of the Greater Fayetteville Chamber October 16, heading to Tennessee to take the same role at the Oak Ridge Chamber of Commerce. And while I look forward to my new position and new community, I leave behind some very dear friends, great memories and a strong Chamber. The key to that strength, I believe, is being engaged. In the past three and a half years, our team at the Chamber has worked hard to become more diverse, more vibrant, and more relevant, and I think we have achieved that goal, although we will never stop striving to be more than we are. While our members may know of the things the Chamber itself does, others may not be aware how our community involvement has deepened: We serve on the Tourism Development Advisory Board to put back bed tax dollars into local events. We are also on the Fayetteville Area Metropolitan Planning Organization's advisory board, giving input into much-needed local roadway and transportation projects. We worked for a year to craft re-writes to the City of Fayetteville's Unified Development Ordinance (UDO) to make it easier for smaller lots to be redeveloped and tightening up language to clarify development expectations overall. I also held positions on the Parking and Urban Design Study task forces to put in place ideas for downtown's future. Under the direction of the Fayetteville Cumberland Economic Development Corporation, we joined with other agencies to develop a joint branding effort to unify the message we send about our area. We enjoy partnerships with all our educational institutions, working with Fayetteville Technical Community College, Methodist University, Fayetteville State University, and Campbell University (all Chamber members) through internships, support of their curriculum and sports programs, special events and projects. Our Cumberland County School system is a key factor in our future workforce, and we are privileged to have their Superintendent as an ex-officio member of our board. We are also a training location for NC Works program participants, enabling those entering or re-entering the workforce to get on-the-job experience. Having the largest military installation in our backyard has been such a blessing, and our Military Affairs Council enjoys an amazing relationship with Fort Bragg. Its Garrison and all its commands work with us to broaden the supportive relationship the community enjoys with the Post, and we have been able to introduce its soldiers to the Fayetteville/Cumberland County area and all it has to offer. In return, we have been able to introduce our businesses to these commands and show them how they can do business with Fort Bragg and the military. We work with many groups such as the NC Defense Business Association and the NC Military Business Center, which the Chamber is proud to have created so many years ago to evolve into a statewide organization. We hold an annual Spouses in Military conference and participate in the Convention & Visitors Bureau's annual Heroes Homecoming celebration. We work with first responders and public safety personnel, and honor them each year with our Valor Awards, which I was thrilled to bring to this Chamber. The Health Department, Cape Fear Valley Health System, and those working on the new Fire Training Center were honored this year, along with law enforcement officers, firefighters and paramedics/EMTs who risk their lives every day to protect ours. Our media partners help us spread the word about these and other events, and give back to the community which supports them. We serve as the business advocate – monitoring legislation and informing our members of actions which will impact them. We have spoken at local hearings, written letters of support – and opposition – and joined with other groups to take a stand on issues. With the Longleaf Pine REALTORS, and the Home Builders and Contractors Association, we have educated the public on our local candidates, hosting forums and other events to meet our elected officials. With the Arts Council we held a reception for newly-elected officials, which we plan to make an annual occurrence. All of this is enabled by a committed staff, enthusiastic volunteers and a guiding Board of Directors who set our plan of work. And together, we carry it out. There are countless other partners at the state, local and federal levels, and I hope they know how much we appreciate them! Yes, the Chamber offers networking, training, marketing, exposure to new clients and customers, and many other things you would expect, and we will continue to do so. We will be taking on the Building Business Rally event started by PWC to open up contracting opportunities to local businesses. We co-hosted training programs with the Small Business Development Center and the Small Business Technical Development Center. We hosted the Brian Hamilton Foundation's Inmates to Entrepreneurs program and are now offering financial literacy courses free of charge through a grant from the City of Fayetteville. But your Chamber is so much more…. It has been here for 121 years and it will remain the stalwart advocate for community and quality of life. FAREWELL FAYET TEVILLE

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