More than just an AC/DC song, it’s a shout out for celebration as MCC returns to a black-operating budget after four plus years in the red.
With the success of the Get Linked Expo, Annual Gala, and other event and membership initiatives, the Madison County Chamber generated an additional $80,000 in gross revenues and realized $10,000 in cost savings in less than six months.
“I am thrilled to advance into the new year with a stable budget, a diversified board of directors, and a motivated staff to inspire economic growth,“ says Kyle Morey. “If the chamber can find success in our current economy, then anyone can.”
Additional successes include adding Angela Barbosa and Amy Debiak to the team, rotating board meetings around the county, increasing attendance at events, achieving 3 million impressions for Madison County, improving internal processes, doubling social media and press coverage, building regional relationships in 19 counties, and studying commerce in China.
“2011 is here. Let’s make some noise!” - Kyle Morey
(following excerpt is taken from the Indiana State Chamber blog)
"House Vote Pending on Charter School Bill The Indiana House is preparing to debate and vote on a bill to significantly improve and expand charter school options in Indiana.
House Bill 1002, authored by Speaker of the House Brian Bosma (R-Indpls.), would expand the number of charter schools, provide more options for students, assist with facilities, and bring equity in funding to charter schools. As one national expert testified, this bill will make Indiana’s charter school one of the strongest in the nation.
"Charter schools are demonstrating real successes in many communities around the state in providing new public school options for parents that really work in increasing student achievement. Parent satisfaction with charter schools is very high and students are succeeding at significantly higher rates." (Excerpt from the Indiana Chamber Grass Roots Alert Email Jan 27, 2011)
What would House Bill 1002 do?
· Helps increase the number of charter schools by allowing private universities, mayors of second-class cities, and a new state charter schools board to authorize charter schools. It would also eliminate current limits on the number of charter schools.
· Increases accountability measures for charter school authorizers to help assure they require strong management and performance in charter schools.
· Makes unused and under-utilized public school buildings available to charter school start-ups. Also closes the current funding gap between public charter schools and traditional public schools.
Charter schools are demonstrating real successes in many communities around the state in providing new public school options for parents that really work in increasing student achievement. Parent satisfaction with charter schools is very high and students are succeeding at significantly higher rates. The charter schools bill passed out of committee after nearly six hours of hearings. We expect it will face a number of hostile amendments during floor debate."
Action Needed: Please ask your state representative to "support charter schools and House Bill 1002."
According to the current Charter School legislation:
Anderson Community Schools could be required to lease school buildings to charter schools for $1 per building. Why is that a bad deal? First, those facilities together are probably worth more than $1 million. Also some charters are run by non-profit or for-profit entities that may or may not pay taxes in our district and have not invested in those buildings. In addition, some of those buildings are our backup insurance for future enrollment increases.
Charter schools would be allowed to take some of the money currently used to support the ACS Transportation Department and Facility Department. We will have to curtail some transportation functions in an already cash-strapped operation that is suffering through higher energy costs. That would mean fewer and lower levels of services and less money available for building maintenance and repairs. The Transportation Fund and the Capital Projects Funds are supported by property taxes paid by Anderson/Richland/Union Townships residents, not by state tax dollars. It would not be fair to spend those funds to cover expenses for charter schools that may or may not be local.
There is still no accountability for Charter Schools in this law. Unlike all Indiana public schools, charter schools are not subject to the state accountability law – Public law 217. Charter schools are not under the jurisdiction of the Indiana Department of Education as public schools are.
Charter School enrollment does not reflect the enrollment in public schools in terms of students who do not speak English as their native language and with special education students.
What are the questions for you as a parent and as a taxpayer? How long can we continue to siphon money away from public schools to support the lowest performing schools in our community? Can we afford to give assets away to private entities when it might expose our community to higher costs and taxes down the road? Why aren’t charter schools required to open their doors and provide high quality programming for all students like the public schools? Charter schools ARE supposedly public schools. Given two major choices for parents – charter schools and public schools – charter schools nationally and in Indiana are not out-performing the public schools.
After you read the information below, I hope you are motivated to share your views with your state legislators. You can locate their contact information at http://www.in.gov/cgibin/legislative/contact/contact.pl. In a democracy, the people have a responsibility to communicate their opinions to their elected officials.
Love it or hate it, social media is here to stay. With over 500 million users on Facebook and Twitter closing in on 100 million tweets per day, social media is most definitely not a fad. If it isn’t already a part of your marketing mix, it should be. Why? Because business happens online.
No matter how small or how local the business, you have an online reputation. Even the absence of an online presence is a reputation. And whether or not you are using social media, your customers are. Chances are that at least some of your competitors are using it too. If you choose not to participate in the conversations about your industry, your company and your brand, rest assured, someone else will.
What does this mean to you? Primarily that you seriously need to GET LINKED. Social media tools – Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and many more – cost little to nothing to set up and use. These are perhaps the most cost-effective tools you have to create buzz about your business, interact with (not just market to) your current and potential customers, monitor and direct your brand, research your competition, and drive traffic to your website.
Not sure where to start? Jump in! An easy first step is to set up simple personal profiles and business pages on Facebook and LinkedIn. Then find the people and businesses you know, connect to them, and join the conversation. In fact, you can start with us!
We’ll be sharing information, insights, and inspiration to help you on your way to social media success!
I love this saying. I get this visual of a HUGE pink elephant on the boardroom table. (Why pink? I lived near Fortville as a kid). Everyone is trying to talk around it without acknowledging that it’s in the MIDDLE OF THE ROOM.
In Madison County, we definitely have our Elephant.
For 10 years the Chamber and other organizations have discussed combining their respective resources to get more bang out of our collective bucks. Like many areas around the country, we lost large manufacturers, draining both money and people from Madison County. Smart people thought it made sense to consolidate to conserve our assets. It did not get done.
We were not the only Chamber trying to go this direction. In the intervening 10 years, other Chambers have successfully implemented a combined model.
In 2006, Greater Lafayette Commerce (GLC) formed from six organizations, including the Chamber of Commerce. This organization now represents, “a vast world of business resources, funneled into one single agency to fuel the professional ambitions of individuals and corporations attracted to [the] region.”
The conversation to create the Greater Kokomo Economic Development Alliance started in 2006 with Kokomo’s largest employers in bankruptcy. Five organizations merged to, “focus on programs instead of constant fundraising,” and the Visitors Bureau joined this spring.
In both of these cases, the combined organizations are financially stronger and have the sound leadership and agility to be proactive forces for growth and improvement.
So here we are ten years later: budgets decreasing, potential board members spread thin serving too many organizations, and businesses having to choose which to support. Our efforts to increase commerce are still divided and less than spectacular. Yet we cling to the status quo instead of recognizing that change is needed.
As a leader I am accustomed to grabbing problems by the tail, looking at them from every angle, and then making decisions. Being a business owner this process can take 10 minutes or 10 months. It probably won’t take much longer because business moves too fast, and I can always change again if needed.
We all know that change is inevitable. It will either happen “to” you or “by” you.
With our business organizations struggling to have significant impact, we have to acknowledge our Elephant in the Room. Do we grab hold and make changes? Or do we let change happen to us? Personally, I’m a grab hold kinda gal.
What does it take to be exceptional? By definition it is more than just a step above. Something truly exceptional is, “1. forming an exception or rare instance; unusual; extraordinary, 2. unusually excellent; superior,” (thank you, Dictionary.com). Personally I really like that second definition.
While exceptional itself is rare, I know many who would agree that truly exceptional customer service is almost unheard of. Though I don’t usually fancy myself a cynic, on this one point, here I agree. Far too often service ranges from not noticeable to merely average. Occasionally it can be downright awful.
At a time when so many businesses are struggling, providing exceptional customer service would seem to be a relatively low-cost and easy way to attract and retain new customers. And not just any customers. Those who experience exceptional service are far more likely to frequent that business and probably become their walking billboards.
Case in point, over the past several weeks, I have experienced or witnessed some truly exceptional acts of customer service. The Gaither Family Resource Center, The Edgewood Golf and Dining, PIP Printing, Beyond the Greens Restaurant & Pub, and Eleck Promotions have all provided service that is the exception. Here are the stories:
The Gaither Family Resource Center was asked to host a free networking event for the Mad9, a newly formed group of Madison County business organizations seeking to provide networking opportunities for local professionals at locations around the county. The hosting businesses are simply asked to provide a venue and refreshments at their cost in return for the exposure they receive. Keep in mind, it’s a free, two-hour event. Some fruit punch and cheese trays would be considered by many to be more than ample provision of freebie snacks for an unpaid crowd. The Gaither’s, however, went all out. From the dynamite spread (including shrimp cocktail, gourmet cheeses, and mini oreo mousse desserts) to the beautiful signage carefully coordinated with the Mad9 colors, this was a CLASS A EVENT! Every person MCC staff talked to that night raved about the event and the Gaithers. I would guess that by going above and beyond with one brief event, they made lifelong fans of the more than 200 people who enjoyed their spectacular hospitality that evening … and positively influenced the hundreds or thousands more who have heard about it since then. > event photos
As you can imagine chamber folk tend to eat out a fair bit. Whether staying in touch with our members, chatting up the press, or working over a politician (HA!), meeting for a meal is a frequent happening. Recently Kyle Morey came back from one such meeting positively alight with enthusiasm for The Edgewood Golf & Dining. Apparently at that lunch something happened to him that has not happened in more than 10 years of chamber work: the proprietor of the establishment saw that Kyle was representing the chamber and gave he and his guest lunch ON THE HOUSE. What a smart move! Give a free lunch to someone who travels the county regularly, plans frequent events, and talks all the time to anyone who will listen!
PIP Printing in Anderson prints and folds MCC’s newsletter each month. As someone who has worked in and around the printing industry for a couple of decades, I can tell you that keeping a print shop moving is a full-time job. Checking over every single detail of a standing order job like our newsletter really isn’t in the cards. Unless you’re PIP Printing. Even though we sent a press-ready file to them for nothing more than printing and folding, someone in that shop took it upon themselves to read through that newsletter before it went to press, caught a potential mistake, and stopped the presses to call us and ask if we meant to say that. While it wasn’t a life or death error, it was a GREAT CATCH on their part that saved us the embarrassment of having to make some quick phone calls and send out some emails to retract and explain!
You saw the description of the Gaither’s Mad9Mixer above. What I didn’t tell you is that Executive Chef Jack Buttry from Beyond the Greens Restaurant & Pub was there on a mission. Owner Sally Kane had already agreed to host the mixer the next month … and was cooking up some friendly competition. Chef Jack took notes, went back to Elwood, and cooked up a veritable GOURMET FEAST for the April 2011 Mad9 event! From prosciutto-wrapped asparagus to steak and blue cheese bruschetta to shrimp salad on cucumber slices (and don’t even get me started on the desserts), this was a full-on gourmet buffet for the professionals who gathered to network and a “share a few goodies.” I for one WILL BE BACK … and will be bringing a crowd!
Those of you who attended MCC’s Annual Gala “Make a Joyful Noise” in January 2011 may remember that some of the most joyful noise that night was made by singing sensations “Joshua’s Vision.” What you probably don’t know is that two of its members, Bryan and Andrea Hughes, also own Eleck Promotions, a new company Bryan launched to provide marketing, graphics, and outreach services for churches, schools, and non-profits. As a startup business owner as well as a booked musician (and dad and husband and church member), you can imagine that Bryan’s schedule is a little jammed. But when Kyle Morey called Bryan several weeks ago to float an idea past him for yet another undertaking to ENERGIZE MADISON COUNTY, he didn’t blink an eye. In fact, over the past several weeks Bryan has spearheaded the effort, led the charge, concocted the magic potion, and is well on his way to training the troops … ALL IN HIS “SPARE” TIME … and for nothing more than the satisfaction of building a worthy cause and perhaps getting a little visibility for his nascent company down the road. What a consummate customer service pro!
Though entirely different situations arising for different reasons, each of these businesses chose to BE EXCEPTIONAL to such a degree that those of us at the chamber haven’t stopped talking about them. What would it have cost them to buy that kind of advertising? Could they have bought it? Probably not.
In each case someone in that organization made a conscious choice to spend the time, money, energy – whatever it took – to create that exceptional experience. It’s paying huge dividends, and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future.
Oh, and what is that energizing project that Bryan Hughes and Eleck Promotions took on? Stay tuned…
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Mentoring Initiative of Madison County
(United Way of Madison County & Anderson University)
P. O. Box 1200, Anderson, IN 46015
Mentor Initiative of Madison County hosting Round Table Discussion
Calling existing youth mentoring programs to the table to identify what mentors are doing in Madison County
The recently established Mentoring Initiative of Madison County is a collaborative effort between United Way of Madison County and Anderson University and was formed to draw attention to the benefits of mentoring in our community. The initiative serves as a resource and support system to all programs and individuals engaging in youth mentoring.
Beyond training and on-going support for mentors and programs, Daniel Wohlberg, mentor coordinator, aspires to identify the collective effort and progress being made. “It’s hard to know exactly what is happening when the scope of mentoring is so broad. With such diverse mentoring efforts, the initiative would like to call all of those programs to a round table discussion. The hope is to bring that information together in one forum to identify the good work being done and any gaps that might exist.”
The Mentoring Initiative of Madison County is funded through a matching grant awarded through the Indiana Association of United Ways funded by the Lilly Endowment.
United Way of Madison County supports human services throughout Madison County, Indiana and is governed by a 24 member volunteer board of directors. The organization has been a member in good standing of United Way of America since 1973. For more information, contact 765-643-7493 or visit our Web site at www.unitedwaymadisonco.org.
The Anderson Noon Exchange Club held its 43rd Annual Red Haven Memorial Award on Tuesday, May 17th at the Edgewood Country Club. The award is named in honor of Orville “Red” Haven who was the sports editor of the Bulletin newspaper and a former president of the Noon Exchange Club many years ago. “Red” wrote about the accomplishments of the high school athletes on the field and also made note of their outstanding academic accolades and how they took time to give back to their communities and schools. It was those qualities that are sought in awarding the award in his honor.Leah Steele, a senior at Lapel High School, is the daughter of Rob and Linda Steele of Lapel. Leah is a 6-sport, 17 letter athlete with letters in cross country, basketball, volleyball, track & field, football manager, and band. She is ranked 1st in her class of 88 students and will be graduating with academic honors and a 4.190 GPA.Special guest speaker Kyle Morey, President and CEO of the Madison County Chamber of Commerce, challenged the seniors to think big and act big. “Challenge yourselves, said Morey, and go after what you want.”Each Madison County High School nominated a candidate to represent their school for the Red Haven Award. The candidates were: Katie Muey, Alexandria, Jordan Eddy of Anderson High School; Derek Wells, Anderson High School; Allison Browning, Frankton High School; Leah Steele, Lapel High School; Erika Lindley, Liberty Christian; and, Molly Craig, Pendleton Heights High School.Leah Steele of Lapel High School received a $500 scholarship from the Anderson Noon exchange Club and a $500 scholarship from the Herald Bulletin in honor of their former sports editor, Red Haven. Leah has received the 2011 Lilly Endowment Scholarship, Heart of the Bulldog Award, University Incentive Grant, Supplemental University Incentive Grant and will be attending Purdue on a full scholarship.
In an effort to continue our initiatives of linking Madison County and making a joyful noise, we are launching a monthly event called the Mad County Mixer sponsored by the newly formed Mad9. The Mad9 is a partnership of nine Madison County organizations with the common mission of realizing a positive vision for the future of our county and region. The Mad County Mixers will support this mission by providing opportunities for businesses and organizations from across the county to connect, communicate, and create commerce.
+ Expand your network to Elwood, Pendleton, Anderson, Alexandria, and more as we rotate north, south, east, and west in Madison County each month
+ Connect to major employers, small business owners, civic leaders, young professionals, and more
+ Enjoy a relaxing atmosphere with great eats and cash bar
A newly formed partnership made up of organizations sharing a similar mission of linking Madison County civic leaders and businesses to create commerce, explore new relationships, and discuss future opportunities. Mad9 includes the Madison County Chamber, Alexandria Chamber, Elwood Chamber, Pendleton Business Association, Flagship Enterprise Center, Corporation for Economic Development, Anderson/Madison County Visitor's Bureau, and the Anderson/Madison County Realtor Association.
An event presented by the Mad9. It is free to attend, but must register. The event will rotate around the county each month starting first in Pendleton, then Alexandria, then Elwood, then Anderson.
It's about relationship building, networking, generating leads, discussing county and local issues, and connecting civic and business leaders. It's about showcasing the town/city we are in. This is not a sit-down-and-listen event. Get up, shake some hands, make new connections, discuss hot topics, and build your network. The event will include appetizers and a cash bar and is free to attend.
Bring civic and business leaders through your front doors by hosting the Mad9 Mixer presented by the Mad9 Partnership. You provide the venue, food, and beverage. We market, publish, network, and buzz the event. A win, win, win.
> CLICK HERE TO FIND NEXT EVENT
By Dirk Webb
Mike Barry, General Manager
Culligan Water Conditioning Company
PO Box 2517
Anderson, IN 46018
Most of us grew up with iconic advertisement of the desperate housewife yelling for her local Culligan Man. The Culligan Company was established in 1936 in Rosemont, Illinois and still is a business deeply committed to its roots. Culligan of Anderson opened its doors in 1940 as one of the first Culligan franchises and now, one of seven owned by the Miller family.
Located on historical Eighth Street and Madison Avenue at the site of the old Cooks Grocery store in Anderson, Culligan is led by Anderson newcomer, Mike Barry. Freshly transplanted from California by way of Michigan, Barry says, “I wanted to live in the community I work in, plus my wife is originally from here in Indiana.”
According to Merriam-Webster the word optimism is defined as a feeling or belief that good things will happen.
Would you consider Madison County to be in the midst of sunrise? What does the business sunrise across the horizon look like to you?
“I would call it early sunrise. One of the reasons I came here was the potential that I saw. I believe we’re on the upswing but for a community this size it won’t happen overnight. Everyone has their theories on how to speed the process but from where I sit home values are going up, enrollment in the schools are up so the signs are there.”
What does "A New Day" mean to you?
“A new opportunity for a new outlook. A chance for optimism, enthusiasm, excitement and potential. You wake up every day and it’s a clean slate. Yesterday may have been the most terrible day ever but today could be one of the greatest ever.”
Helen Keller said, “optimism is the faith that leads to achievement. Nothing can be done without hope and confidence.” How has your optimism helped you guide your company’s vision?
“Our company has gone through some tough times. Our customer base has gotten smaller over the years and of course we face competition but I believe the values of our ownership and the resources they give us will continue to make us stronger.”
Is your optimism ever threatened?
“It’s always threatened and there are opportunities to be negative…we may experience setbacks but tomorrow is a new day with another chance to succeed.”
If Optimism leads to achievement, what is it you hope your company will achieve in 2016?
“Further stability. As our customer base grows it means more stability for everybody here and our company as a whole. All ten of our employees live in Madison County. We all shop locally and as we do our little bit means we have ten more residents telling the story, helping create more jobs. Two or three more jobs here at Culligan can have a significant impact at the local restaurant down the street, the gas station at the corner, doctor’s offices, and beyond.”
If you were to have five minutes with someone who was considering relocating to Madison County what would you tell them?
“This is a terrific place and a good time to move here. We’re only 25 miles from Indianapolis. Any place else that close is very built up and much more expensive. Being from California the cost of living here is unbelievable. We have a great University, a nice downtown, and good restaurants that would lure a young family here.”
Thanks in part to St. Vincent Anderson Regional Hospital and Howard Webb Agency, Culligan will be honored for 75 years in business on February 25 at the 2016 Annual Awards Gala.
To view past award winners, or to read more about the awards, visit MCC's Wall of Fame.
By Jonathan Miles Hammock, MCC Marketing Intern and Anderson High School 2016 Graduate
Growing up as a young black male in Anderson; I always thought of home as a place I wasn’t going to be for long. I could always tell that there was a problem here in the county. Every year there was something we had (or didn’t have) that made people want to leave and not think twice about coming back. I had the same mindset my senior year at Anderson High School. This past summer, interning here at home and taking classes out of state opened my eyes and changed my perspective on home.
Madison County has so much potential and is so close to reaching it. We have the resources to be prosperous like our neighbor Hamilton County. We just have to do three things that will put and keep us on track to be great.
First, we as a community must continue to believe in the things we already have and make them better. Examples are our great education systems (Anderson, Alexandria, Lapel and Pendleton), exceptional agribusinesses that many people don’t know that we have (Evermilk, Red Gold Tomatoes, and Nestle), and last but definitely not least, the youth that reside in our county. I feel like if we put more support, love, and hope within them our outlook as a county would change for the better.
Second, we must strengthen and support our own people and businesses that are struggling. There should be no reason a new business leaves town in a year, and we complain that there isn’t anything here. We can’t expect new things to come our way if we don’t take care of what we have already. For example, Mounds Mall is nowhere near what it used to be, but we want to have something like a Hamilton Towne Centre. We can’t expect a youth center if we can’t maintain a Boys and Girls Club, and we watch our YMCA struggle. That shows we cannot handle something of that magnitude. When given a chance we must prove people wrong and show that we are capable.
Lastly, the County must let the small growth enhance our hope. It’s only a matter of time until Madison County returns back to where we were. Marion and Hamilton Counties are bursting out of their seams and moving north. We are bound to collide, but with that being said, Rome wasn’t built in a day. While people are moving away from a busy city or a boring ghost town, they are looking for a safe, quiet, suburban area to live in. I encourage you to brag about our county, our county. Why? Because we have a lot to brag about.
A lot of times we as humans always think the grass is going to be greener on the other side. In our case the grass is green and it is growing. So let’s continue to water it, tend to it, and even add a little landscaping to our own yard. Then soon enough we’ll be the greatest home there is in central Indiana.