As we begin a new year here in Central Nebraska, I want to take this opportunity to fill you in on a few of my thoughts and what is taking place within your Grand Island Chamber of Commerce.

First, we have much to be thankful for, as we all have the privilege to live in a wonderful part of our great nation! We enjoy clean air and water and can come and go wherever our schedule demands without traffic jams. Our children attend good and safe schools. We have a strong and faithful workforce and are blessed with a good economy — especially when considering the current turmoil within the agricultural sector.

Continued development and improvements can be seen within every area of town. Considering the passage of the additional half-cent sales tax increase this past year, additional infrastructure improvements to make the city even better will be occurring as well.

As most of you have likely noticed, there are many changes happening within our economy both locally and nationally. It can be argued that some of the changes are good and some are likely bad.

Either way, the changes are occurring, and we all must adapt to them.

Business leaders pay attention to the changes that affect how they relate to and with their customers. Doing so ensures they remain relevant and successful within the segment of the economy in which they operate.

The same dynamics are happening within the Grand Island Chamber of Commerce. The staff and board are evaluating the various programs and initiatives that staff time and financial resources are devoted to, ensuring we are properly fulfilling our mission.

This effort began with answering the simple question: what can, and should the chamber be doing to help all the area businesses be successful? With the changes happening within and to the businesses in our area, the chamber needs to adjust as well.

One of the most obvious concerns to all area businesses is the need for additional qualified staff (workforce development). This need was identified and is a part of the Grow Grand Island Initiative. The chamber remains committed to assisting in this endeavor.

Other efforts that the chamber will continue to be a part of includes hosting SkillsUSA, which brings a large number of talented young people to our community.

In just a few more months it will again be time to host/sponsor the Harvest of Harmony event! The “Our Grand Legacy” project to renovate Memorial Stadium will be a tremendous benefit to all the bands that participate in the competitions every fall.

One of the most important roles the chamber plays within the business community is to be the “delivery/coordination vehicle” to address an unexpected opportunity or problem that may arise. The chamber is fortunate to have a staff and board that are fully committed to successfully fulfill our mission.

I look forward to working with them this year as we all do our part to keep Grand Island a great place to live and do business.

Brian Mustion serves as chairman of the Grand Island Chamber of Commerce executive board. He is co-owner of Tilley Sprinkler Systems and Landscaping and Central Nebraska Bobcat. Contact him at (308) 382-1282. or brian@cnebobcat.com

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