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Chairman's Remarks

August and September are going to be banner months for the Chamber.  On August 23rd, we will present our first Annual State of Our Community program featuring the Mayor of Gastionia, the Chairman of the Gaston County Board of Commissioners, and the Chairman of the Gaston County School Board on the same stage to report to the membership and the community on the state of our region.  This is a historical event for the Chamber as well as the county.  For the Chamber, it is part of its efforts to keep its membership and the community informed.  For the community, it is an opportunity to hear, first hand, from the top elected local officials in our region.

  September at the Chamber is manufacturers’ month.  During this month, the Chamber plans an informational program on the ergonomics standards now being proposed by the State Department of Labor and will host the Annual Manufacturers Fall Golf Tournament. We have asked the Gaston County Commission and the City of Gastonia City Council to declare September as Manufacturers’ Month.  All of this will be in an effort to highlight very significant contributors to Gaston County’s economy.

  August and September will be the prologue into what promises to be a very busy October and November.  In October we will have our Business Expo at Eastridge Mall and will, through our Gaston Gathers program, feature the positions of some of our local candidates running for office in November.  Following the general election in November, the Chamber will conduct its annual strategic planning retreat in preparation for the year 2001.

  As we gear up for a dynamite second half of the year 2000, the Chamber is still looking for “a few good members” to borrow a line from the Corps.  In reality, we are looking for a lot of good members.  This is a membership driven organization that is the community asset dedicated to the betterment of Gaston County businesses.  If your business or firm is not a member, it should be.  Give us a call at 864-2621 and explore the possibilities of expanding your business horizons via membership in the Gaston Chamber of Commerce.

State of Our Community - New Program – Gaston Gathers

Each year the President of the United States and Governor of North Carolina report to their constituents in their State of the Union/State Addresses.  If, indeed, all politics is local, why do we not have a State of Our Community report?  We will!

  On Wednesday morning, August 23rd, beginning at 7:30 with a buffet breakfast, the Gaston Chamber of Commerce and its Gaston Gathers program will present the first annual Gaston Area State of Our Community report.  Featured presenters will be the Chairman of the County Board of Commissioners, Gene Kimbro, Chairman of the Gaston County School Board Annette Carter, and Mayor of the City of Gastonia, Jennie Stultz.

  Each will give a ten-minute report on the state of their respective communities and charges.  They have been asked to look back one year and compare this year with the last and to present, in a candid manner, the opportunities and challenges that face this County and its County seat, Gastonia.  In making this report, each has been asked to be frank with what the needs are to see this region reach its full potential.

  The first Annual State of Our Community will be hosted by Chamber’s Gaston Gathers program and will be emceed by the Chamber’s Chairman of the Board, Duane McCallister.  This program is designed, in part, to help the Chamber keep its members and the community informed on the key issues that drive our economy and our local society.  As of July 7th, ADDECO Staffing are helping to make this program possible via their sponsorships.

The program will be held at the City Club.  Price of admission is $ 12 per member and guest and $ 15 for non-members.  Member sponsorships are encouraged at the gold level of $ 500 and the silver level of  $ 250.  For information on sponsorships or the program, contact Kim Workman at the Chamber, 864-2621.  Reservations may be made by calling the Chamber or faxing the Chamber at 854-8723.

  Mark your calendars and make plans to attend the first Annual State of Our Community program on August 23, 2000, beginning at 7:30 AM at the City Club in Gastonia

NationJob – Post It and They Will Come

One of the toughest items facing business today, especially manufacturing, is locating and securing highly qualified employees.  Particularly difficult are employees with high technical skills.  When businesses and manufacturers are understaffed, production is hampered and firms cannot take advantage of a robust economy and capitalize on opportunities.

The bad news is that the situation does not look like it will improve.  By 2002, there will be 10% more jobs in the United States than workers.  The good news is there is a proven solution.  To help with the workforce shortage, the Chamber has partnered with NationJob.  NationJob is the # 1 provider of community-based Internet recruitment solutions.

Internet recruiting affords businesses and industries better reach to prospective employees, particularly those with highly honed technical skills.  And the cost of recruiting is much lower.  In a recent study, the Employment Management Association found that the cost-per-hire using traditional advertising was $ 3,295, while the cost-per-hire using the Internet was almost ten times lower, just $ 377.

In a study done by J. Walter Thompson, over 70% of active job seekers prefer the Internet over other methods of job hunting.  NationJob’s P.J. Scout program allows firms to tap into a hidden market of job seekers, those individuals who are not necessarily looking to make a change but are available if there is a match to their specific needs and wants. 

The Chamber’s NationJob program provides businesses and manufacturers with unlimited job listings; company profiles; a custom Web site; postings of jobs on a Web site devoted exclusively to the Gaston region; posting of jobs on more that 25 industry-specific Web sites; E-mailing of job listings to all matching job seekers (more that 450,000); and the posting of jobs on Yahoo, Classifieds, Alta Vista, America’s Job Bank and Prohire.com.

For more information, call NationJob direct at 1-888-256-1741 or contact Melanie Bumgardner at the Chamber, 864-2621

Junior Achievement

  One of the major goals for the Gaston Chamber of Commerce this year was the re-establishment of the Junior Achievement program in Gaston County.  The Chamber’s Business Education Council, Stuart LaFrancis Chairman, set a target of ten JA classrooms for the winter/spring semester to test the possibility and set a model for future development of the program.

  In January, Junior Achievement of Central Carolinas, Inc., met with the Chamber and presented its programs to the Business Education Council.  The Council formed a steering committee with Pam Massey, then with BellSouth, and Louis Miller, President & CEO of the Chamber, designated as the co-chairmen.  The steering committee, made of business and industry members from the Chamber’s Business Education Council, set out to lay the groundwork for the JA program in Gaston County Schools.

  The Chamber and the steering committee quickly became overwhelmed with the response.  Over $ 12,000 was raised from the private sector placing more than 70 volunteers into as many classrooms in Gaston County schools.  From the first grade through the ninth, business consultants (volunteers) entered the classrooms of Gaston County to bring business and industry to the region’s youth.

  The question remains can this effort be duplicated for the fall semester adding high schools and the new Highland School of Technology to the list of Junior Achievement classes?  The steering committee feels it can and is looking to move close to the 100 mark in classrooms receiving the Junior Achievement program.

  Depending upon the class being “taught”, volunteers will spend one day per week for 5 to 8 weeks in the classroom.  Class periods are usually 40 minutes.  While in the classrooms, these business and industry volunteers will introduce and teach Gaston students economic concepts, show the relevance of education to the workplace, and lead discussions and activities that explore the business world and the free enterprise, free market system.

  Two things are needed: volunteers to go into the classroom and money to purchase the supplies and materials.  Volunteers are trained prior to entering the classroom and as the 2000 experience showed, are veterans before they leave the first hour.    If you and your firm are interested in sponsoring a JA class or participating as a JA business consultant (volunteer), contact Teresa Rankin at the Chamber, 864-2621 or the JA office at 536-9668.  Join the Chamber and Junior Achievement to educate and inspire young people to value free enterprise, business and economics in order to improve the quality of their lives.

ATHENA is Coming!

On the evening of January 19, 2001, the Gaston Chamber of Commerce will proudly present its first Annual ATHENA Award to someone in our community of members who has displayed unselfish leadership in business and community service.  In doing so, this individual will have, by example and teaching, mentored to others, providing a role model that has and will encourage others, especially women, to achieve their leadership potential.  On January 19th, 2001, ATHENA will arrive.

  Sponsored, in part by Gaston Federal Bank, the first Annual ATHENA Award represents excellence in business and profession.  It will tell all that the recipient has provided this community with immeasurable service and has exhibited initiative and creativity in business and public service.

  Soon, nomination forms will be sent to each member of the Chamber and a distinguished panel will have the awesome task of selecting the candidate for the 2001 ATHENA Award.  Once the candidate has been selected, the Chamber's Executive Committee will review the selection and make the final decision for presentation.

  The award itself is a 14 inch sculpture created and individually made by Sculptor Linda Ackley.  It is a similarity of the Greek goddess who was the mythical daughter of Zeus.  The ancient Greeks admired her for her resolute courage and wisdom, guided and enlightened by reason.  The icon has a marble base which represents the recipient=s solid foundation.  Upon the base is the bronze sculpture adorned by a cut crystal symbolizing the many facets of human character and the light that emanates from the recipient.  The entire piece itself celebrates achievement and the reaching out to others.

  On January 19, 2001, at the Chamber's Annual Meeting, ATHENA will come to Gastonia and the celebration of someone who has given of him or herself in an unselfish manner for the betterment of this community will be held.  Make plans to be there.

Purpose of the Gaston Chamber of Commerce

The purpose of the Gaston Chamber is to promote a better understanding of the nation’s private enterprise system: to coordinate the efforts of commerce, industry and the professions in maintaining and strengthening a sound and healthy business climate in the region: to sponsor aggressive programs of work and stimulate activities that will provide for full development and employment of our human and economic resources; to provide creative business leadership and effective coordination of all interested parties in solving community problems and in initiating constructive community action; and to create broad understanding and appreciation of the great opportunities in the Gaston County area, and to promote the advantages and assets of our community within the area, in the state, and in the world.

  Mission Statement

The mission of the Gaston Chamber is to enhance the profitability of its members and to encourage its members to return a portion of that profit back to the community for community growth and development


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The Gaston Chamber of Commerce
601 W. Franklin Blvd., Gastonia 28052

Phone: 704-864-2621   Toll Free: 1-800-348-8461
Fax: 704-854-8723


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