Chamber of Commerce holds 67th annual membership meeting

By Greg Miller

   The Elizabethton/Carter County Chamber of Commerce on Thursday held its 67th annual membership meeting at the Truman Clark Annex of the Carter County Health Department.
   In his presidential address, outgoing Chamber president Robert Reedy of Reedy & Sykes Architecture and Design observed that with him being an architect, he thought it was "very fitting" that "we had building projects going on for the year 2002. We had big changes to the Chamber of Commerce."
   Reedy thanked Tourism Director Larry Gobble for his dedication and hard work on the Chamber renovation project. Reedy also praised Frank Robinson for his commitment to the project involving the train that sits on Chamber property.
   The Existing Industry Council, set up in 2002, has the potential to play an important role in the life of the county's business and industrial health, according to Reedy. Members of the EIC visit local businesses and industries "with an effort to find out what are their needs should we keep them. We've had some sad occurrences here in our community with some of our larger industries moving on. Maybe had we chosen to visit them, we could have found some way to have kept them here." Reedy will serve as vice president of the EIC council this year.
   With the traditional passing of the gavel, Reedy welcomed Duncan Street of Carter County Bank as the Chamber's new president. "I'm very proud and very honored to be this year's incoming president for 2003," Street said. "I look forward to it, and I feel that I have a very enthusiastic and energetic board of directors."
   Street praised the work of previous Chamber presidents. "You all have done a wonderful job," he said. "We have a bright future ahead of us, and I look forward to working with the Chamber this year."
   The Chamber is a membership organization, Street said. "It provides leadership and service to the business community for the enhancement of the economy and the quality of life. East Tennessee is a wonderful place to live. It's a wonderful place to work and a wonderful place to worship. We're very fortunate to have an area that is so rich in beauty, an area that's so rich in tradition, and an area that's so rich in value."
   Street's goals for this year include the continuation of events such as the legislative breakfast, Carter County Clean Streams and the Covered Bridge Celebration. Another goal is to educate local businesses about "the benefits of being a Chamber member."
   Street talked about the importance of teamwork in accomplishing the Chamber's program of work. "Together as a group, the Chamber of Commerce and the members can join together towards a common goal, and I want to explore opportunities that businesses and the Chamber can come together to discuss current issues."
   Street noted that teamwork is an important concept in the Chamber's accomplishment of it's program of work. "I'm confident that 2003 will be a successful year," he said. "It takes we, not me, not you, or they. It takes we as a group."
   Street has served as a volunteer with the organization for a decade. "I have been involved in the Chamber of Commerce for the last 10 years and have found the Chamber to be a vital part of Elizabethton/Carter County," Street said.
   Elizabethton Mayor Sam LaPorte, last year's winner of the "Citizen of the Year Award," announced Arthur Bryon "Deacon" Bowers as this year's winner. "
   Filling in for Chamber executive director Barbara Treadway, Carter County Executive Dale Fair presented a plaque to Reedy for his service as the organization's president in 2002, as well as a scrapbook filled with highlights from the year.
   Reedy selected Pat Holtsclaw as the person to receive the Presidential Citation. "I appreciate you and the work that you did, pulling other people in to work in the Chamber," Reedy said.
   Jim Pierce served as emcee for the event.