The Terre Haute Chamber of Commerce recently brought home the honor of being selected as the 2019 Indiana Chamber of the Year through the professional peer network serving chamber professionals from throughout Indiana.
The award, sponsored by Old National Bank, was presented at the 2019 Annual Conference for the Indiana Chamber Executives Association (ICEA).
Terre Haute’s Chamber exceled this past year with great growth and regional leadership. The Chamber welcomed 75 new members in 2018 while rebranding the organization with a new mission statement of ‘Building Business. Building Community.’ The organization lacked a strategic plan in recent history, however the Board turned the corner this past year with the development of a comprehensive strategic plan. This plan will take the organization through 2023 with measurable outcomes focusing on the following four pillars:
1.) Advancing Advocacy for Impact
2.) Advancing Business Development
3.) Promoting Community Vibrancy & Quality of Life
4.) Providing Excellent Service To Members
Advocacy has become the largest selling point for this chamber. The organization led the collaboration to develop a six-county regional approach to not only LEAD the region, but to CHANGE it. The goal of this group is to work collectively to apply for grants of state and federal funding to bring a better quality of life to residents. Current projects are advocating for broadband technology for underserved areas, as well as the development of a regional trail plan.
On the local level, the Chamber realized that the organization serving the downtown area was struggling, so they took action by adopting this downtown focus as a subset of the Chamber. This partnership has been recognized by the Indiana Office of Community and Rural Affairs with grant funding.
The Terre Haute Chamber also spearheaded and funded an extensive community planning initiative. Through this process, this chamber has conducted public forums, gathered more than 1,000 survey responses and met with community leaders. The plan will be finalized and presented in July of this year. The Chamber will then lead an intensive effort to implement the recommended community planning items.
Local leaders realized that the community lacked a convention center and targeted this project. The Chamber worked behind the scenes to connect lawmakers with local business leaders to champion this effort. Plans were approved to move forward with this development.
At the state level, this chamber organized to enhance business and economic growth in the area through the Chamber’s initiative “Terre Haute is All In.” which supports a casino in Terre Haute. The Chamber, along with their advocacy partner RJL Solutions, rallied at the statehouse to show support of a casino locating in Terre Haute. Terre Haute is All In . . . and state legislators heard that message loud and clear. The Terre Haute collaboration helped lead Governor Eric Holcomb to signing the gaming bill in May 2019.
The Terre Haute Chamber employs six staff members. President David Haynes is set to retire at the end of this month and Vice President Kristin Craig will move into the top position of the organization on July 1.