Summer: a time to celebrate and reflect
By Kevin Patterson
The transition from spring to summer is my
favorite time of the year. It marks the beginning of some vacation time, nice
weather and a break from the routine. This year feels a little different for me
because it also marks the end of my year-long term as Chamber president.
Doug Corbin takes over on July 1 and I
anticipate we will have another great year as Doug brings his energy,
experience and wisdom to the leadership of the Chamber.
But to be honest, itís a little bittersweet
for me. This has been a good year and part of me doesnít want to let go because
itís been so rewarding. It went by way too fast and there is much more to do!
Time began accelerating for me last July,
when we began work to design and implement a comprehensive economic-development
marketing strategy for the Maple Valley-Black Diamond community. We began by
brainstorming ways to leverage the listing of Maple Valley as one of the 10
Best Towns for Families in Family Circle Magazine. That recognition of the work
being done by Tahoma School District, the City of Maple Valley, the Chamber and
many community members was very gratifying. We incorporated that information
and as part of the marketing material to attract the attention of commercial
The Chamber was part of a delegation from
this community that participated in RECon, the worldís largest gathering of
retail real estate professionals, held in Las Vegas a few weeks ago. It was a
chance to present the community as a desirable place for development of retail
and commercial properties. It was also an opportunity to test our marketing and
see how it could be improved.
Thatís one of the continuing challenges for
the Chamber as we move forward: what will it take to attract development of
commercial enterprises that can create living-wage jobs in our community? At
the same time, we must not lose sight of the needs of existing businesses,
which already provide jobs, goods and services to the community. Itís important
work and will require collaboration of the public and private sectors in our
community to make it happen. Fortunately, that positive collaboration exists
and can continue to grow.
Transitioning from a semi-rural bedroom
community to one that has a better balance of sustainable employment and
commercial enterprises is a positive change that can benefit us all. In my
other job, as your public information officer for Tahoma School District, I
will be communicating with you about the school districtís increasing emphasis
on helping students establish a viable plan for post-high school, including
acquisition of skills and knowledge that can help them begin productive careers
regardless of whether they choose college, technical school, apprenticeships,
certification, military or direct entry into the work force. That, too,
contributes to economic development.
Thank you to all of the people in our Chamber
and in our community who are working so hard to achieve this vision. Itís
exciting to think of the potential that this community holds.
Added on 06/25/2012
President's Message by Chamber blog