4 Key Points From the IVAC Year in Review

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While enjoying bacon, eggs and coffee early Wednesday, local business and community leaders learned about the state of business in the Illinois Valley when Illinois Valley Area Chamber of Commerce held its Year in Review Breakfast Seminar in Peru.

Executive director Joni Hunt said she had accomplished all the things she set out to do in 2016 and said if anyone had any questions to reach out to the chamber.

“I may not have the answer, but I have 350 people I can call and somebody is going to have that answer,” she said.

Here are four key things to take away from the breakfast.

No. 1: A new PR guide

Everyone at the breakfast received a copy of “Advantage,” the new public relations guide by IVAC. Hunt said 2,500 copies were in circulation with plans for more.

She said the magazine was, in part, the result of a tour of businesses in the region.

“The reason I did that was because I wanted to know what it was like to do business in the Illinois Valley,” Hunt said. “A consistent theme from that discussion was that some folks were having trouble with recruitment … We hope that this helps those folks achieve their goals.”

The guide includes information on housing, health care and recreation in the area, alongside information about economic development.

No. 2: By the numbers

Hunt reported that there were 22 ribbon cuttings in 2016.

“That’s more than we’ve had in the last five years combined,” she said.

IVAC also hosted 56 events in 2016 and expanded its social media presence, Hunt said.

“We have 30 percent increase in our Facebook followers,” she said. “It’s on our agenda every single day at IVAC.

Hunt also reported there had been six showings at the Hennepin steel plant and several offers submitted, but so far none had been successful.

No. 3: New Members

IVAC board president T.J. Templeton reported that the chamber now has 350 members.

“What does 350 members mean to the chamber?” he said. “It wasn’t that long ago that we were in the low 300s or maybe in the high 200s. We’ve come a long way since then.”

The chamber has grown by 58 members in fewer than two years, Templeton said.

Hunt said it was the achievement from 2016 that she was most proud of.

No. 4: Future Plans

The chamber plans to focus on leadership development in the coming year for its members, Hunt said. It would focus on creating new programs and enhancing the existing ones.

“We want to create a positive work in environment in the Illinois Valley. We want people excited about everyone’s success in here. It’s contagious,” she said. “When we have investors looking in our area and they can feel that positive energy … That’s how we win, that’s how we have an edge.”

Source: News Tribune