GALVESTON CHAMBER OF COMMERCE RECOVERY REPORT. Fred D. Raschke, Chair. Gina M. Spagnola, President

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1 GALVESTON CHAMBER OF COMMERCE RECOVERY REPORT Fred D. Raschke, Chair Gina M. Spagnola, President I m sorry I could not be with you tonight to deliver the Chamber s message regarding Business Recovery and the Road Back regarding the Chamber and the Business Community. I remain honored to serve as President of the Galveston Chamber of Commerce and its 805 members. More importantly, since Hurricane IKE, 225 new members have joined the Chamber. I think this is pretty unbelievable. Presentation I want to provide for your review the Chamber report in three parts: First, I ll report about where the Chamber has come from since Hurricane IKE. Second, about the business community in general since Hurricane IKE and its recovery. And, finally, what all this means to you and me. Chamber History The Galveston Chamber of Commerce was established in 1845 and is the oldest Chamber in Texas. Our Mission is simple: To Promote and Advocate FOR Business. Everyone involved in the Chamber of Commerce has an important role in assuring the organization s success. The Chamber is committed to building a healthy economy and improving the quality of life with the local community. It s a synergistic association, where the cooperative effects of many far exceeds that of any independent few. ONE VOICE FOR BUSINESS Our MEMBERS INCLUDE: Business, organizations, and individuals working together to improve a community in which they reside. Our COMMITTEES: The Chamber s objectives are best achieved by small groups of the membership engaging in a common goal. Our committees include: Advocacy, Governmental Affairs, Business Development, Membership Development, Finance, Strategic Planning, Board Development, Human Resources, Ambassadors/Volunteers, Golf, Women s Conference, Past Chair and Out-of-the-box.

2 The days after IKE Reality September 13, 20008, the day of IKE, first call made, by me, to the U.S. Chamber asking for their guidance. My question, Where do we go from here? Immediately, the U.S. Chamber had representatives from the Business Civic Leadership Center, a division of the U.S. Chamber, working with me on a recovery plan. In addition, Chamber s from all along the Gulf Coast helped our Chamber by providing Lessons Learned through their experiences. I worked out of a Chamber in Arkansas for three weeks and began drafting a recovery plan of work. In constant contact with her board and staff, a Recovery Expo was conceived and developed. The Chamber staff, working out of their cars and a hotel room began contacting FEMA, SBA, SBDA, GEDP, Local Bankers, Mental Health Service Organizations (UTMB), Homeland Security, Insurance Companies, City Planning, the Texas Association of Business etc to participate in the Recovery Expo. The idea was to get all of the business resources in one spot. The Recovery Expo was held October 17, 2008 and was a huge success, so successful in fact that the event was recognized and received to awards from the Texas Chamber of Commerce Executives. 1) as best design and implementation of the best new Chamber of Commerce program in Texas for Small Business and 2) as best design and implementation of the best new Chamber of Commerce program in Texas for Community Development. In addition, the Business Civic Leadership Center (BCLC) of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce has just announced my appointment as a member of the National Business Recovery Corps. Created after the terrorist attacks of 9/11, the Recovery Corps is made up of committed individuals whose communities have experienced major disasters in the past, and who would like to help future community leaders tackle the Challenges of disaster recover. This distinguished list of individuals includes citizens from across the U. S. that are committed to the concept of paying it forward. It s an honor to serve! During this time the Chamber staff began Beating the Streets to talk to all businesses regarding their immediate needs. In addition, hundreds of calls were made in an effort to talk to each and every business on the Island. A list was made of their needs and the Chamber staff then worked on providing them resources for their immediate and future needs to get their business operational as quickly as possible. We realized after the EXPO, that we need each other, to talk, to hug, to share our stories with, we all needed help and a reason to keep going The Chamber began celebrating every store that opened with a ribbon-cutting and encouraged the YES WE ARE OPEN FOR BUSINESS campaign. This was not something new, the Chamber always cuts ribbons, but it was different now, and folks begin showing up in large numbers, much larger than regular ribbon-cuttings, because of the need to celebrate a NEW BUSINESS OPENING THEIR DOORS. Normality The Chamber has 225 New Members since IKE, which I said earlier is pretty amazing and speaks volumes for our City and our Chamber. The Chamber has used 504 feet of ribbon at ribbon cuttings since Ike. 42 ribbon-cuttings. The Chamber Mixers have increased from and average of 100 participants at our monthly mixers to a record breaking number at the San Luis Resort of well of 200. And yes, business was being conducted!!

3 The Chamber Slogans: The Road Back, It s no longer about Recovery it s about Discovery, If you re not IN You re OUT, of course our Mission: To Promote and Advocate FOR Business Mission Advocacy: To Date the Chamber has taken the following action on the following items regarding the business community. Date Action Outcome 02/13/2009 HB 831 Tax Exemption for Non-Profit Community Not Supported Business Organizations Resolution 03/11/2009 Request Council to Authorize Park Board to Develop Supported Beach/Seawall Paid Parking Plan Resolution 03/11/2009 Lone Star Rally Supported 04/23/2009 HJR 207 Casino Gaming - Economic Study (pending) Supported 06/23/2009 Chamber Project - Develop Business Incubator Supported 07/22/2009 Smoking Ordinance Resolution Supported 07/22/2009 Federal Bench - Resolution Supported Keeping Full-time Federal Judge in Galveston 07/22/2009 Amicus Brief for the GLO - Resolution Supported Supporting Open Beaches Act 07/22/2009 Texas Association of Business (TAB) Recommendation Supported Forward Information to Members 08/18/2009 Special Request for Chamber - Resolution Supported Supporting Jack Johnson Memorial Park 08/18/2009 County s Participation of Hospital District Supported - Recommendation 08/18/2009 Anchor Bay Ltd. Project - Recommendation Supported 1 Against 1 Abstained

4 09/15/2009 City s Proposed 6-cents Tax Increase - Recommendation Supported 1 Opposed 09/15/2009 County s Indigent Health Care Tax Resolution Supported 09/25/2009 Galveston Housing Authority (GHA)- Recommendations Supported 1) We favor homeownership over renters 2) We favor lower density over higher density facilities 3) We favor mixed income residents and mixed use 4) We favor increasing the number of GHA board of directors 12/10/2009 Seawall Development Plan Recommendation Supported a) the Chamber should take a leadership role in bringing up the issue of Seawall development; and b) the method to do that is to task the Business Development Committee to devise a plan for Seawall facilities enhancement and maintenance, including funding to support that plan over the long haul. STRATEGIC PLAN Purpose: To promote and advocate for business Vision 2017: We are the key to attracting new businesses and sustaining existing businesses. To be One of the top places in the country to live and work. Mission 2009: The Galveston Chamber would be the go to organization for all businesses on the Island. WHERE IS THE GENERAL BUSINESS COMMUNITY TODAY IN ITS RECOVERY SINCE HURRICANE IKE What we know: (information provided by Cheryl Johnson from Comptrollers Audit Report) ,783 Commercial Properties in Galveston 49 Industrial Businesses Commercial Properties in Galveston Industrial Businesses Although the Chamber is very much aware of the status of our business members, we continue to work with Cheryl Johnson, the City and the GEDP to access just how many businesses have left the Island since IKE, and how many businesses are actually in operation.

5 I think is significant, that old businesses continue to re-open and new businesses are investing in Galveston. My estimation is that the business climate is good and will get even better. It s know longer about recovery it s about Discovery! New business opportunities, a new vision, a better Galveston. INCUBATOR One of the Chamber s visions for the Community is a Business Incubator/Business Development Center. Fred Raschke and I have met with Dr. Shelton to discuss this project and he also will be sitting on the Business Incubator Committee. Dr. Ben Raimer is Chair of the Committee. The Business Development Center will be a leading force in establishing Galveston Island as a destination for small business expansion and location. It will provide a supportive environment for new enterprises to test their business. These businesses would have ready access to equipment, flexible and attractive leases, supported by a range of services that minimize operating costs and accelerate development. Access to quality mentoring, business support resources and technical assistance would also be provided. One of our goals is to find educational/business opportunities for our High School students, providing them training and necessary tools to become successful in business and remain in the Galveston area. Dr. Sheldon explained and encouraged the Chamber to become involved in the following: Chamber participation on the Business Industry and Advisory Committee Chamber can help identify partners for the Business Industry and Advisory Committee Chamber can provide Mentoring and Educational Opportunities Chamber can provide assistance a Job Shadowing Program Chamber can develop a Business Leaders of Tomorrow Program Chamber can work with businesses, providing job placement for those graduating from the Technology Center I want you to know today, that the Chamber accepts this Challenge! We will also continue to work with UTMB and Texas A&M Galveston on how we can involve the business community with their programs as well. Thank you so much for the opportunity to report to you the status of the business community. The Chamber has been, since 1845, and will always be committed to helping build a healthy economy and improving the quality of life on Galveston Island. Promoting and Advocating FOR Business, Gina M. Spagnola, President

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