The annual Chamber of Commerce banquet was held at the Manhattan Restaurant Tuesday evening, with Chamber Executive Director Joyce Bieber welcomed guests and outlining successes the chamber has had over the last year as well as what new programs the chamber wants to pursue in 2014.
Bieber spoke about the success the chamber’s revamped and updated website and management system have been having in 2013 and encouraged chamber members to remain engaged with the site and to update their information on a regular basis.
She revealed a few of the businesses receiving the most traffic on the site, including Bessie’s Barn and Tangleberries. Bieber also said that there were more than 200,000 searches for events on the site from February of 2013 through December of 2013 as well as more than 39,000 business searches.
An award was presented to the most engaged chamber member of 2013, Ottumwa Radio. In giving the award, Bieber also revealed the top 11 most engaged chamber members of the year. The number 10 place was a tie between two members. Some of the criteria used to determine the list included having updated information on the chamber’s site, paying chamber dues on time and being involved in events either through sponsorship or volunteering among other things.
The list included, tied for 10th place Henry Ortmann and Northside Insurance, ninth place Curwood, eighth place Mercy Medical Center, seventh place Iowa Trust and Saving’s Bank, sixth place Exline County Store, fifth place Daily Iowegian, fourth place Hy-Vee, third place State Farm Insurance and second place Tangleberries.
Bieber also unveiled the new program, Operation Lead the Way Centerville, that will be a focus in 2014. The program seeks to get community members engaged in volunteerism and asks chamber member businesses to be leaders in the effort.
“It’s been shown that participating in activities outside the workplace as a group is good for employee morale inside the workplace,” said Bieber. “And our need for volunteers is growing as our baby boomers are retiring…we have needs for new volunteers to step up.”