By Joy Hampton
The Norman Transcript
NORMAN — “We’re Norman, and we’re open for business,” said Andy Sherrer, incoming Chamber of Commerce Board chair.
Sherrer said the Norman business community is ready to have a “unified message than can transform our city.”
“We’re Norman, and we’re open for business,” is that message, he said.
The Chamber is committed to helping all businesses, large and small, grow into the future.
“We have world-class educational
opportunities in our community,” he said.
Education creates the work force that will draw quality companies to Norman. Those jobs will keep our children and grandchildren here, Sherrer said.
Sherrer said the Chamber will address four key areas to accomplish its goals in the coming year. Those areas include Programs to be led by Stephanie O’Hara, Government Affairs to be led by Curtis McCarty, Business and Quality of Life Initiatives to be led by Suzanne McAuley, and Membership and Leadership Development to be led by Casey Vinyard.
“We must show up,” Sherrer said. “We must be involved at city hall. We must fill the room.”
Working with city hall, linking people to services and planning beyond tomorrow are important ingredients for moving forward, he said.
Sherrer was building on the stage set this year by Trey Bates, outgoing chairman of the board.
“This year has been an amazing year, and I could not have done it without my wife,” Bates said.
He also could not have done it without the Chamber staff and the many board committees.
“Every committee pushed forward,” Bates said.
Bates, like Sean Rieger before him, was part of a team that has transformed the Chamber of Commerce into a more aggressive, lobbying entity that makes its voice heard at the state and federal levels.
Sherrer’s message promised even more involvement at the city level, building on the successes of the past year.
“We supported the transportation bonds,” Bates said. “And recently, the hotel/ motel tax.”
During Bates’ time in office, the Chamber worked with the city to push pro-business policy including shorter permit time frames and “less onerous regulations,” Bates said.
It’s a message the Norman business community is hearing. The Chamber grew to 1,500 members over the past year.
“Businesses go through cycles,” Bates said. “They weather storms and they get stronger.”
The Chamber is dedicated to helping business in Norman succeed.
“We are business’ biggest chearleader,” Bates said. “But we’re a lot more than that.”
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