Beaufort Chamber sets new vision, mission during spring retreat

With a year or reorganization behind them and hope for a growing economy ahead, the Beaufort Regional Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors crafted a new vision and mission during their springtime retreat Friday.
It was an intense day, but I think we achieved a lot and set a strong path for the coming 12 months,” said Jon Rembold, chairman of the Chamber’s Board of Directors. “We’re seeing good indicators that our local business economy is improving. There’s a new sense of excitement with new businesses coming to the area, including downtown Beaufort.”
The Chamber’s new vision statement is: “To be the most influential organization in the region creating the preferred community to invest, prosper and enjoy.”

Key phrases from board members Friday focused on growing the local economy, advocating for area businesses, serving the community and partnering with other organizations to boost the Lowcountry for relocating families and tourists.

During 2011, the Chamber added 176 new members, conducted 15 ribbon cuttings for new businesses, earned an international award for its campaign for the F-35 Joint Strike Fighters at Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort, set new standards for member services, reorganized tourism marketing and hired Blakely Williams as its president.

The Chamber Board on Friday also adopted a new mission statement: “The Beaufort Regional Chamber exists to manage and build capacity for continual community growth by advocating for a pro-business environment and building quality workforce development in order to enrich the region’s quality of life.”

Throughout the day, work centered on the Chamber’s five “pillars”: Tourism, the military, economic development, improving education and workforce development, and member services and business growth.  “We have dedicated board members who are passionate about their work and their service, and that makes us a stronger Chamber,” Rembold said.

Other Chamber highlights of the past 18 months:

· During 2011 alone, 51,019 people visited the Chamber’s Visitor Center, located at the historic Arsenal

· The Chamber and Visitors Center staff relocated into the Arsenal and adjoining Carnegie Building, both on Craven Street in the heart of downtown Beaufort

· In that same period, 388 tour buses visited Beaufort, bringing 14,450 people for a taste of Lowcountry life in the heart of the National Landmark Historic District

· Beaufort’s historic waterfront hosted 28 cruise ships in 2011, most of them for overnight stays

· Hensel Phelps began the initial $77 million construction of improvements at Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort for the F-35 jets expected to arrive by 2014. Those contractors hired locals and brought workers to the area, adding to the economic ripple effect. Another $20 million in construction contracts are to be let soon, with an additional $260 million still scheduled in the coming 24 months.