Leadership to Montgomery

March 17, 2017

DSC03462The Chamber’s tag line is “the voice of business,” but what does that mean?

We advocate for business, our members and our community from D.C. to Montgomery. Advocating includes meetings and updates in the community and taking trips to the federal and state capitol.

Leadership Calhoun County takes an annual trip to the state capitol, and this year, the Public Affairs Committee tagged along to provide insight and introductions to elected officials and those pending issues affecting our communities directly.

DSC03429Some of the updates included hearing from senate pro-temp Del Marsh about issues we would hear about on the floor, House updates from Representatives KL Brown and Randy Wood,  lunch with State Superintendent of Education Michael Sentance and Representatives Barbara Boyd and Steve Hurst, and updates from lobbyist from the BCA and Department of Labor.
From education and workforce development to infrastructure and pending tax bills, the day was enlightening and educational, as we also toured the historic Alabama State Capitol building.

For information on jointing LCC or Public Affairs, please contact the Chamber at 256-237-3536.DSC03405

“I Volunteer!”

March 9, 2017

“Volunteers are not servants. Volunteers are partners working together for improving America’s future.” – Richard Dalyrenew our rivers

At Chambers of Commerce and other non-profits, we couldn’t do half of what we do without our volunteers. From Event Coordinating to Outreach, volunteers step up to help us carry the load.

Volunteering comes in various forms, from hand on building and clean up opportunities to smaller scale, working registration and reading to schools, local organizations contribute to the quality of life in our communities.

DSC03079Volunteering can also expand your network, and no we don’t mean online. Those you work  with, side by side, can play an important role in your future careers, and these volunteer hours look great on resumes.

From assisting at the local soup kitchen to assembling playground equipment, volunteering also teaches us things. It may teach us a new skill or raise our awareness of other organizations and businesses in the community that serve as resources for others.

Looking for ways to volunteer? Just give these local organizations a call!

Calhoun County Non-Profits

eco-forumEach year, Jacksonville State University’s School of Business & Industry and the Center for Economic Development & Business Research provide and economic update to the  Chamber’s membership, covering Calhoun County, the state of Alabama, and the nation. The presentation for 2017 is set for Friday, February 24, from 8:00-10:00 A.M. at the Civilian Marksmanship Program, located at 1470 Sentinel Drive, Anniston.

Speakers for 2017 include Leslie McClure, the Regional Executive & Senior Officer for the Federal Reserve Birmingham Branch.

economic-forum-2017Lesley McClure is responsible for the Birmingham Branch’s board of directors of the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta, oversees the Birmingham Branch’s economic and financial education programs, and provides regional input into the Atlanta Fed’s monetary policy process. McClure’s primary role is being the “face of the Federal Reserve” in the Branch’s region, which covers the state of Alabama and Central Georgia. In this capacity, she represents the Fed in developing relationships and organizing and participating in activities throughout the region designed to gather both quantitative data and anecdotal grassroots information on economic conditions.

The Center for Economic Development at JSU concentrates on providing specialized assistance and expertise to area business and government. Examples of services provided include economic impact studies, marketing surveys, employee attitude assessment, training, and personnel and pay plan development.

This year’s forum marks the 15th annual Economic Update, which includes the results of a recent economic-outlook-prediction chamber membership survey, for the upcoming year.  At 7:30 A.M., there will be a continental breakfast served, and the cost is $15 for Chamber Members and $25 for non-members. Call the Chamber at 256-237-3536 to RSVP.

Friday, February 24, 8:00-10:00 A.M.

15th Annual Economic Forum

at the CMP

1470 Sentinel Drive, Anniston

$15 for Members; $25 for non-members

Continental Breakfast begins at 7:30 A.M.

RSVP by calling, 256-237-3536.


2017 Economic Forum Sponsors

Presented by:

Jacksonville State University

Program Sponsor

B.R. Williams Trucking Warehousing Logistics

Gold Sponsors

Alabama Power Company

AOD Federal Credit Union


Webb Concrete & Building Materials

Regional Medical Center

Cheaha Bank

NobleBank & Trust

Anniston Water Works & Sewer Board

Auto Custom Carpets

Civilian Marksmanship Program

Sunny King Automotive Group

America’s First Federal Credit Union


Silver Sponsors

Regions bank

Acker Electric

F&M Bank

Small Town Bank

Wells Fargo

Stringfellow Memorial Hospital

Southern States Bank

BBVA Compass

Aerospace Coatings

RA-LIN & Associates, Inc.

M² Connections

keeping-your-business-safe-002Is your business prepared for all emergencies? We’re not just talking about knowing the fire drill. Whether a school, a workplace or an apartment building, your business, should have site-specific emergency plans.  This plan outlines preparing and responding to a multitude of emergencies such as an active shooter or losing your entire database.

Consider the places your family or friends spend the most time. Do they have an emergency plan? Are they a Ready Business?

dsc06760This is an eight hour course is divided among four days. All businesses and organizations are invited to join us for this four part certification, March 23, April 4, April 20 and May 2, from 9:30-11:30 AM at the Oxford Civic Center, located at 401 McCullars Lane in Oxford. The cost is $50 per person, and registration to (256)237-3536 is required.

Topics covered will include:

Threats, Hazards, Extreme Weather, Active Shooter, Telecommunications Outage, Medical Assistance, Responding to Crisis, Long Term Recovery, Community Impact, and more!

Attendance of all four sessions is necessary to receive the Ready Business Certification. Course fee covers your Ready Business plan materials, refreshments, and Ready Business Certification. The fee must be paid by the first session on March 23.

dscn5971Ready Business Workshop Series

In Partnership with the Calhoun County EMA

March – May 2017

$50 per person

Oxford Civic Center

To gain your certification, register  by calling (256)237-3536.


Logo with EastmanWOW is a hands on, interactive expo with activities across ten worlds. It is designed to help students make smart choices for their future and encourage them to finish school. The desired outcome is to improve high school graduation rates and de-velop career interests among students to move their communities for-ward with workforce ready graduates.

img_9149Why Worlds of Work? The purpose of the Expo is to create aware-ness about exciting career option among students and educators while addressing worforce needs in the region. Existing employers in the re-gion continue to have unfilled job openings due to a shortage of skilled workers. Employers face shortages over the next few years due to the retirement of up to 50% of their workforce.

img_9161Who is Worlds of Work for? 8th grade students from Calhoun County, Clay County, Cleburne County, Talladega County, Randolph County and Gadsden City Schools will attend. Two sessions will be open to any 11th and 12th grade students, interested parents, career coaches and school counselors. Approximately 3,200 students will attend this year’s WOW.

What worlds will be represented? img_9173Agriculture, Automotive & Manufacturing, Communications, Construction, Energy & Utilities, Engi-neering, Healthcare, Hospitality & Tourism, Public Service and Transpor-tation.

When and Where will WOW be this year? WOW is going to be March 7-9 at the Oxford Civic Center, 401 McCullars Lane, Oxford, AL.

How can I volunteer? We need volunteers to be class guides, room monitors, zone monitors and floaters. To volunteer please visit: http://signup.com/go/2JDxRmimg_9194

Did you know….Only 20% of today’s jobs require a four year degree. For today’s jobs, 65% require an associates degree or advanced techni-cal degree.

Need more information? Please contact Lisa Morales at lmorales@eastalabamaworks.com or 256.454.4276.

annual-meeting-webAt the Annual Meeting, each year, we celebrate the many successes of the past year and preview our exciting plan of action for the coming year, as we swear in the new Board of Directors and announce the Chairman’s Cup Recipient and Ambassador of the Year.

2016 was a year of record setting events and success. Thank you to those who worked so hard and contributed to make it great. Thanks to you, the Chamber continues to succeed because of our members’ and volunteers’ involvement and dedication to this organization.

Each Year, the Brenda Dozier Hollis Chairman’s Cup is awarded to recipients for their efforts, contributions and dedication to the Chamber and our communities. Brenda was dedicated to this Chamber and served as an advocate for getting new leaders and younger people involved with the Chamber. These honorees have worked tirelessly to grow the Chamber to truly represent and engage our business community and region.

bridgette-magBridgette Magouirk is the manager for RMC’s Occupational Health and Wellness Program. She has spent over 11 years focusing on reducing workers’ compensation costs, improving employee health, and designing and implementing physician partnerships with local industries.

Bridgette Magouirk has been involved in Chamber programs for over 15 years and served as the Vice Chair for Business Development the last 2 years.  On the Board of Directors since 2013, Bridgette has dedicated her volunteer hours in making sure the Chamber has profitable and successful events.  As the Chair of the Business EXPO and with her dedication, she has lead this program to become the Chamber’s premier non-dues program with record attendance. She has assisted with every program of the Chamber from Small Business Activities to Salute to Industry Golf, Membership Campaigns and numerous others events.  Whatever the event or program, you can be sure that Bridgette will be there to show her support for this community and the Chamber.

The Ambassadors’ mission is to promote general membership services and enhance goodwill for the Calhoun County Chamber of Commerce with the highest degree of professionalism, knowledge, and integrity; mastering in Recruitment, Retention, and Referrals. Through their active role and participation in ribbon cuttings, ground breakings and events, the Chamber is able to better serve our membership. Some Ambassadors go above and beyond what is expected, well representing their business and the Chamber in the community.

trishaOur Ambassador of the Year, Trisha Anderson, became a  Chamber Ambassador because she loves to meet new people, and it was a natural fit. She embraced the mission of the Chamber Ambassadors, and right away began working to make a difference by visiting with current members, helping to recruit new members, and educating everyone she spoke to about the benefits and resources available through the Calhoun County Chamber of Commerce.

She was born into a military family in Germany and through her life has lived in Panama, Japan, and the United States. Trisha graduated from Talladega High School in 2000, and holds a B.S. in Accounting from Colorado Technical University Online. She loves to sew and do crafts of all kinds.

She currently resides in Munford, AL, with her husband Brandon, a medically retired U.S. Marine Corps Staff Sergeant, and their kids Brianna, Audrey, Tamryn Che’ and Kristoffer.

calhoun-county-chamber-of-commerce-2Does your business have questions about insurance?

From “Why should my business have a “buy-sell” agreement in writing and why should it be funded?” to “What package of employee benefits should I consider for my company?” these questions will be answered on Wednesday, February 1, from 8:30 to 10:00 A.M. at the Chamber of Commerce.

Have you ever asked “how do I know which quote is best for my business?” or “what kind of insurance do I need to get started?” This event is free, but pre-registration is requested. Call (256)237-3536 to register.

dsc01970The Small Business Committee is hosting a series of workshops designed to build up our small businesses and connect them with resources in the community, including SCORE, SBDC, Main Street Programs and EARPDC. The Chamber’s Small Business Committee works with the mission “to promote the growth, success and recognition of small businesses by promoting training, networking opportunities, and engaging public awareness.”

*Get Involved

If you see a committee or event you’d like to attend or would like more information, call (256)237-3536 to chat with Chamber Staff about how you can get involved.

Make the Most of Your Chamber Investment this Year
1. Stay Informed
informThe Chamber strives to keep our members and partners up-to-date. Stay in the loop by subscribing to our email newsletters, follow us on social media, sign up for text alerts, download our “Calhoun2Go” App, read our Work Week insert in The Anniston Star and browse our website for current information. Check out http://www.CalhounChamber.com for links and more information.
2. Participate
participateWhile there are ways to take advantage of membership without attending event, connect, engage and prosper by marking your calendars with programs, events and committee meetings, reaping the benefits of active member participation. Get social!
3. Gain Exposure
exposureMarket your business through Chamber resources. Target your market by sponsoring Chamber events and programs. Update your business listing online and for print, verifying the categories, representatives and contact information are correct for potential customers can reach out to you. You can also add hot deals, events, job postings and more through our online member information center.
4. Save
member-savingsThe Chamber has many affinity programs, offering savings on products and services exclusive to Chamber Members. From the Free Office Depot Chamber Advantage Program to Google Maps, do not miss this exclusive member opportunities!
5. Grow
growThe Chamber hosts many committees, who are forward thinking and supportive of our diverse business community. These committees strive to offer workshops and programs, keeping our members up-to-speed on the latest trends, legislation and information, ensuring long-term economic success for our region.

Now accepting Nominations!

January 13, 2017

It’s that time! If you’d like to recognize a Young Entrepreneur, Small Business or Non-Profit for their work and commitment to the community, complete a Nomination Form by Friday, February 3.

Previous Business Award Winners include:

2004 MedResource

2005 Altex Packaging

2006 ERA King Real Estate

2007 Animal Medical Center

2008 19th Hole Sports Grille at Cane Creek (now Heroes)

2009 Emerging: NobleBank & Trust

  • Sustaining: SPAR, Inc.

2010 Emerging: Wig’s Wheels

  • Sustaining: Miller Funeral Home & Crematory

2011 Emerging: WideNet Consulting

  • Sustaining: AOD Federal Credit Union

2012 Emerging: Smoke-N-Hot BBQ, Inc.

  • Sustaining: Morris Building Constructors

2013       Emerging: Christian Corner Meats

  • Sustaining: Oxford Lumber

2014       Emerging: Cheaha Cheer and Tumble

  • Sustaining: Piedmont Outdoor

2015       Emerging: Cheaha Women’s Health & Wellness

  • Sustaining: Signature In-Home Care

2016       Emerging: Calhoun Pickers

  • Sustaining: The Surgery Center


2016 Innovative Small Business of the Year: Pediatrics Plus

2016 Young Entrepreneur of the Year: Leah Sparks of Southern Girl Coffee

2016 Non-Profit of the Year: YMCA of Calhoun County

  • Lifetime Achievement:
  • King Motor Company
  • Wakefield’s/Martin’s
  • Couch’s Jewelers
  • F&M Bank
  • Webb Concrete & Building Materials
  • Acker Electric, ERA King Real Estate
  • L. Brown Funeral Home


  • The Larry K. Sylvester Small Business Advocates are:
  • 2010 Tom Coleman, SCORE
  • 2011 Robbie Medders, SBDC
  • 2012 Donna Fathke, East Alabama Regional Planning & Development
  • 2013 John Wheeler, ACES Program
  • 2014: Anniston Army Depot
  • 2015: Center for Domestic Preparedness
  • 2016: Northeast Alabama Entrepreneurial System

Here’s a selection of the many achievements the Chamber & Visitors Center made in 2016!

Program Development 

  • program-lccHosted Eastman Worlds of Work, attended by nearly 2,000 students, 72 career presenters, and over 350 volunteers
  • Served as presenter at Piedmont Advantage Plus, with 80 members of the senior class
  • Conducted Job Shadowing Day with Students from Jacksonville and Piedmont School Systems
  • Get Linked networking event was held at JSU
  • Held Superintendent Roundtable with all 5 public school systems represented
  • Spring LCC Leadership Lunch had 60 alumni and current class members
  • Graduation for 31 YLCC class members was held at the Anniston Museum of Natural History.
  • Graduation exercises were held for the 24 members of the LCC Class of 2016
  • Leadership Calhoun County kicked off the class of 2017 with 25 class members.
  • CEOs in the Classroom kicked off with Oxford City Schools.
  • LCC hosted a Fall Leadership Connection on  September 29, with guest speaker Colonel Martine S. Kidd, Commander of the Anniston Army Depot at the Hotel Finial.

Public Affairs 

  • public-affairs-8-9-forum2016 Legislative agendas were created for both State and Federal levels.
  • Re-established Military &Securities Committee with tours of Pelham Range and Anniston Army Depot
  • On March 17 Members of the Public Affairs committee rode the bus to Montgomery with the LCC
  • Hosted Mayors Roundtables quarterly
  • Sponsored July Business After Hours at the National Guard Readiness Center at McClellan
  • Partnered with the Anniston Star on Political Forums in each municipality for August Elections
  • Attended the Anniston Army Depot 75th Anniversary Celebration
  • Hosted the presentation by the JSU Center for Economic Development on Economic Impact of Military with 40 in attendance
  • Met with Congressman Rogers to deliver a briefing from the Military and Security Affairs Organizations.
  • Newly Elected Officials reception was on November 15th with Business After Hours.
  • Committee members met with Mark Colson, Senior VP for Governmental Affairs & Chief of Staff at the Business Council of Alabama.

Organizational Development

  • org-dev-member-appreciateAwarded Accredited Alabama Chamber of Commerce distinction
  • An Ambassador Facebook Group was developed.
  • Continued Member Orientation with 75 members attending.
  • Partnered with Chamber Members to present 36 of the monthly networking events: Business & Biscuits, Lunch & Leads, and Business After Hours.
  • Introduced the Chamber Membership to the Office Depot (OfficeMax) National Chamber Affinity Program.
  • Partnered with R.L. Moore Photography for new Affinity program with Google Maps
  • Celebrated 54 Ribbon Cuttings and 3 Ground Breakings
  • Established Every Member Counts Campaign with 315 calls made.
  • Held a Chat with the Chamber on April 13 in Piedmont.
  • Made more than 206 retention visits to members with upcoming renewals
  • Began recognition of Longevity Members at monthly board meetings
  • The Chamber’s Annual Member Appreciation Day was held on October 7
  • The Chamber currently has 1086 members.
  • There are 136 new members for 2016.
  • 84% retention rate.


  • tourism-hotels1400 visitor informational bags were distributed.
  • Hotel / Motel Meeting heard from speakers Greg Seitz, speaking on JSU athletics and Greg Bagley, speaking on Choccolocco Park
  • Participated with the Calhoun County Fair which was attended by approximately 5,000 over 5 days
  • Attended Tourism Workshop conducted by State of Alabama Tourism Department
  • New tourism website launched on May 31st, http://www.VisitCalhounCounty.com.
  • Participated with Centennial Memorial Wall Park Committee for the unveiling of the State Law Enforcement Fallen Officer Wall
  • Held Familiarization tours for front-line staff &  Cleburne County Welcome Center Staff
  • Prepared tourism materials for 61 baseball teams of the Dixie Youth State Tournament
  • Hosted National Association of Railroad Passengers intern
  • For Restaurant Week, 10 Restaurants registered
  • Attended the Ribbon Cutting for Choccolocco Park on October 16
  • Attended Freedom Riders Public Meeting to present statement of support
  • Held Hotel/Motel Meeting at Choccolocco Park on November 15, with 11 in attendance.
  • Held Ladiga Trail Meeting on November 16, with 12 in attendance.
  • Attended the Cleburne I-20 Welcome Center Holiday Open House with 4 area hoteliers

Public Relations

  • pr-socialThe Visit Calhoun County Facebook Page now has 1164 likes.
  • com had more than 9,228 visitors, with 84% being new visitors
  • The Visit Calhoun County blog has generated more than 4,861 page views.
  • @VisitCalhounCo has 417 followers on Twitter.
  • @VisitCalhounCo has 231 followers on Instagram
  • The Chamber Facebook page has 3696 likes/Followers.
  • com had more than 42,654 visitors, with 58,363 directory searches of our online membership directory.
  • With 37 active job postings, we garnered 3,210 views.
  • Our Calhounchamber.com event calendar received more than 499,991 searches.
  • Our 47 Hot Deals received 2,848 views.
  • The Chamber’s Twitter, @CalhounChamber, has 1,098 followers
  • The Chamber’s Blog garnered 1,254 views.
  • The Chamber’s E-Newsletter has a 27% open rate
  • The Chamber’s App, Calhoun2Go, has 166 users.

Business Development   

  • bus-dev-expoNon-Dues revenue increased by 34%
  • The 2016 Economic Forum presented by the Center for Economic Development was held at Jacksonville State University Merrill Hall with 72 in attendance.
  • Co-Sponsored with JSU, the SBDC and EMA, “Keeping Your Business Safe: A workshop on Business Continuity, Cybersecurity and Disaster Planning” on March 4
  • January 27, more than 250 Chamber Members joined us for the 37th Annual Meeting.
  • Kicked off a Facebook Group, HYPE (Harnessing Young Professional Energies), to share opportunities and events for YPs
  • The 2016 Night of Laughter & Business Awards was a sell-out crowd with 560 in attendance
  • On June 22nd, 20 Chamber members attended the Multigenerational Workforce SummitSponsored by AUSA (Association of the United States Army) & BAE Systems.
  • Hosted Social Media Boot Camp with 25 in attendance
  • Hosted a Business Diversity Round-table, with 10 in attendance
  • The Chamber’s Salute to Industry Scavenger Hunt on September 9 had 11 teams participate.
  • The Chamber’s Salute to Industry Golf Outing on September 15 had more than 120 golfers
  • More than 1500 attended the 32nd Annual Business EXPO on October 18, with first Wine Pull and Meet Mentors events.
  • 10 Small Businesses participated in the Chamber’s Shop Small Saturday
  • Business Builder Series on Accounting for Small Business was held on November 11
  • 9 members attended the first Spritz and Splash Holiday Paint Party on December 5.
  • The Mini Christmas Tree Contest had 21 participants. The contest brought in a total of 865 canned goods.