Carl Blackstone’s Year In Review

Carl BlackstoneIn March, I had the privilege of celebrating my first-year anniversary with the Chamber. One year ago, I joined the Chamber with support from our staff, Board of Directors and our Partners. Over this past year, I have worked closely with business leaders throughout the Midlands to continuously improve the business community and the economic climate of the region. I wanted to take a moment to recap these past twelve months:

After polling our partners, we identified tax policy, infrastructure and workforce development as important public policy issues that deserve our attention. Our Public Policy Agenda highlights issues we are concerned with improving, but the work certainly does not stop there.

This year Fort Jackson has been threatened with potential headcount reductions. On February 26, our #SaveTheFort Community Listening Session showed the United States Army Assessment team how much our fort means to the community, the region and our state. We expect an update from the Assessment Team in June 2015.

The Chamber has a deep interest in the developing businesses throughout the Midlands. We have played an integral role in tracking the water and sewer issues facing our area. We have worked to keep the City’s moratorium from affecting developing business. The cost of doing business in the Midlands is also a concern. Last month, the Chamber hosted Representative Rick Quinn in support of his Business License Tax Reform Act designed to cap the new business license fee at $100.

In addition to our past successes, the Chamber has an exciting spring and summer line up. April 16 the Chamber and the Midlands Education and Business Alliance (MEBA) join together in celebrating the teachers from eleven South Carolina counties to celebrate their outstanding accomplishments. This summer, we proudly join the City of Columbia and Richland County for Small Business Week in the Midlands May 4 – 8 which includes a variety of programs designed to educate and promote our small businesses. On May 7 we will host our 30th Annual Golf Tournament in order to bring together the top business leaders in the Midlands for a friendly round of golf at the Fort Jackson Golf Club.

I am proud of the accomplishments made at the Chamber in my time here, but I most look forward to the progress yet to be made. I thank each and every member of our board, employee and Partner for your work in supporting the Chamber’s mission to make the local business economy a thriving one. Here’s to the next year!


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