As summer winds down and our thoughts turn to important things like LSU football, I find it hard to believe that four months have passed since taking this job. Though we have been extremely busy finishing projects started earlier in the year, I am very excited about new things on the horizon and moving forward with events of our own.
One such event is the CNG/LNG Fueling Workshop taking place on August 20 at the Minden Civic Center. This is going to be a huge event covering a seven-parish area. We are planning for 300-350 guests during the hour and a half presentation. Chesapeake Oil is lining up wonderful speakers for the workshop who will educate attendees on the particulars of CNG conversion as well as its outlook for our future.
Of particular interest to those present will be the vehicles that will be parked in front of the Civic Center.
These will include SUV's, a concrete mixer, dump truck, and passenger vehicles that have already undergone the CNG conversion. It's great that folks can "kick the tires" so to speak of CNG vehicles and ask questions of the experts. That part of the event starts at 11:00 with our speakers starting promptly at 11:30.
I want to encourage any company or agency with fleets of vehicles to register for this event. If you have not been receiving the email invitation, PLEASE call the chamber at 377-4240, to register. Remember, the CNG/LNG Fueling Workshop is FREE to those who register and includes a box lunch. We are also making booth space available for a Mini-Tradeshow to any company who would like to spread the word about their products and services. Booths are $75 each and available on a first-come, first-served basis. If you are interested in talking about your business to a captive audience of 300 people, call us and we will send you a booth registration form; but hurry, booths are going fast!!
Another project that I am very excited about is our Chamber Birthday Bash. While going through old files recently, I discovered that our Chamber was chartered in 1942. Mr. H. O. West was our very first Board Chairman. For a town our size to have maintained a vital, viable Chamber of Commerce for all these years is something to celebrate.
With that in mind, we are having a 70th birthday party. This is planned for Thursday, October 11th, from 6:00-9:00. We will be inviting back as many former board chairpersons as we can find and asking them to share anecdotes and memories of their year of service. The party will be held at Orleans on Main with food, drinks, music, a slide show and of course a birthday cake!!! Cost for the party will be $25 per person and $40 for a couple. Please mark you calendars and plan to attend our Birthday Bash as we celebrate 70 years of service to the Minden-South Webster community!
July has been a very busy month. Benny's Get-N-Geaux was the site for our July After Hours. KK's kitchen prepared wonderful food (the fried quail was a favorite) and in spite of the rain, the Ribbon Cutting for the new Gulf Brand was a success.
We appreciated the donation of five, $10 gas cards given away as door prizes. On July 26th we partnered with Lynn Dorsey and Webster Tourism and Pattie Odom with Minden Main Street to welcome KSLA/Channel 12 and their "On the Road" crew. Special thanks to the MHS Lousis-Annes, MHS Cheerleaders, Webster Junior High Cheerleaders and the Glenbrook Cheerleaders for their participation.
It was a hot evening and these ladies did an outstanding job entertaining all of us in spite of the temperature. Thanks too, to Coca-Cola for loaning their coke trailer and providing the soft drinks. Evergreen got into the act by working inside the trailer dispensing free drinks and hot dogs.
Thanks, Evergreen Ministries. We couldn't have done it without you. The entire event was so much fun. Any time we can showcase the positive aspects of our community, it's a great thing.
The Chamber participated in the "Pack the Bus" event on Friday, July 27th by donating school supplies. Ursula Hullaby did a great job coordinating this event, and the Chamber board was happy to be able to contribute. We will also be serving breakfast Monday, August 6, for our new teachers. We are pleased to once again provide a light meal prior to the new teacher orientation at the Central Office and look forward to welcoming new educators to our Webster Parish Schools.
I was privileged to be a part of the crowd on Monday, the 30th when Governor Jindal announced that Tiburon at Camp Minden had indeed been awarded a military contract and would be hiring up to 350 new employees over the next few years. This is a tremendous boost to our area and we are so thankful to Tiburon for showing the faith in our community by choosing Camp Minden for their new facility.
A special thanks to Chamber board member, Annette Blake, and her hard work. Annette is a Louisiana Workforce Commission employee and has done an outstanding job helping Tiburon begin the hiring process. She has been particularly instrumental in seeing that the displaced workers from IP/Inland get a shot at these new jobs. Hats off to you, Annette, and the wonderful work you do for our area.
Plans are being made for our Junior Leadership Webster Class of 2012 chaired by Chamber Board member, Greg Lee. Greg will be contacting area schools in the next few weeks searching for participants who want to learn more about our community through the Leadership Webster program.
Both of my children took part in this program when they were juniors in high school, and I can attest to its importance and value. If you know of a high school junior who would like to participate, please call the chamber and we will contact him/her.
I, along with Chamber Board Chair, Sarah Haynes, will be attending the Louisiana Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives meeting later this month in Slidell. I am excited to have this opportunity to network and quiz other chamber representatives around the state. It is a wonderful time to share ideas and learn new ways to keep our Chamber out in front. There are wonderful speakers lined up and I look forward to bringing new and innovative ideas home to Minden.
Upcoming events include a luncheon honoring Congressman John Fleming on the 13th in Shreveport. We will be hosting the North Louisiana Economic Partnership quarterly meeting on the 14th at the Chamber offices. Our August After Hours will be held on the 28th at Minden Medical Center's new Off-Site Rehab location. We will also conduct a Ribbon Cutting for the new facility.
Chamber Board members will be selling discounted tickets to the AdvoCare Independence Bowl December 28 in Shreveport. We get a portion of the ticket price, so if you were planning to attend the I-Bowl anyway, why not buy your ticket from us? It should prove to be a great game with the return of an SEC/ACC match-up.
Please join me in welcoming our newest Chamber Members: Waste Commanders, Minden Animal Clinic, Webster/Claiborne LSU Alumni Association, Strategic Action Council, and Minden Home Care Equipment & Uniforms. We appreciate these and all our businesses and the confidence they show by investing in the Minden-South Webster Chamber of Commerce.
Jerri de Pingre' is president of the Minden-South Webster Chamber of Commerce.