Chamber News

Keeping the Ball Rolling in 2016
Chairman's Message - December 2015
Published: Tuesday, December 15, 2015
By: Gregg Bexten

“The two scariest things in life and business are momentum, and lack of it.” (author unknown)

There’s one factor that professional athletes, CEO’s, and successful entrepreneurs possess.  It has no smell or taste.  You can’t see it or touch it.  But when you’ve got it, you’re on your way to the levels of success you aim for. It’s momentum – that law of physics that says objects at rest tend to stay at rest and objects in motion tend to stay in motion, unless acted upon by an outside force.

Momentum can be a game-changer.  Sports enthusiasts can probably list a number of games where the game was won simply because the momentum changed.  Watching a game, you can just sense when it happens, and you don’t want to be the team whose momentum changed from positive to negative! 

Momentum is like a steam engine.  It takes a lot of steam to get it going, but once it starts moving it gets into a rhythm, slowly building speed until it is going so fast it can run through almost anything.  It becomes unstoppable.

In the US presidential election of 1840, William Henry Harrison was running against President Van Buren.  Harrison’s campaign slogan, “Tippecanoe and Tyler Too” built the momentum  for his campaign, but the “Victory Balls” (huge balls covered in campaign slogans) were rolled from town to town and state to state, to “keep the ball rolling” (hence the origin of the term).  (And yes – he won the presidential election.)  

As I reflect on this past year, I can list many good things that have happened in our community and it seems like our momentum is building.  We need to keep the ball rolling in 2016.

The announcement of the Special Olympics Training for Life campus to be built in Jefferson City along with the addition of new jobs created by the re-location of Continental Commercial Products to Jefferson City and local business expansions, have really created an exciting momentum for our community.  Local developers have invested in our community, bringing new businesses and venues to vacant buildings.  The local tourism and sports industries are experiencing growth, bringing more people and revenue to the community. 

In addition, exciting collaborative projects such as the new Boys & Girls Club and a community wellness center are breaking ground.  The new St. Mary’s opened in late 2014. Capital Region Medical Center and JCMG expanded their campuses and services.  You can’t travel many places in the city without seeing the infrastructure/transportation improvement projects in progress, laying the groundwork for future development.  Our local schools are growing and expanding their campuses and programs.  Young professionals are making a mark in the community.  A riverfront plan is coming to fruition. These are just a few examples of the positives happening locally.

This past year, the Chamber, along with the City and County, met frequently to develop an economic development strategic plan for 2016 and beyond.  This plan will help “keep the ball rolling.”  Parts of the plan contain some aggressive, out of the box ideas for economic development which are very exciting and have great potential for our community.  You can read more about parts of the plan in President Randy Allen’s column in this month's issue of Chamber TODAY.

What can you do to help keep the ball rolling?  Invest in our community.  Support our local businesses.  Support our local organizations and charities.  Get involved in the community.  Be enthusiastic and positive.  Celebrate what is good in our community!  We have so much for which to be thankful, and together, we can keep the ball rolling! 

It has been a privilege to serve as Chamber Chair in 2015 and I thank you for the opportunity.  Thanks also to all the Board members and volunteers who work to make our community a great place to live, work, and enjoy life.  Here’s to a great future!  Merry Christmas!

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