Merger creates countywide chamber of commerce

By CANDY NEAL
cneal@dcherald.com

The Ferdinand and Huntingburg chambers of commerce will merge to become the Dubois County Chamber of Commerce in January.

But this will be more than a merger. It will be an expansion to represent all parts of the county.

“What we realized as we started the process, was that it was also an expansion into other communities that were not being represented by any chamber,” said Huntingburg Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Sara Schroeder. “We’re taking what Ferdinand and Huntingburg have been doing and really looking to move into the other communities.”

This expansion is a result of ongoing work between the two chambers and a transition committee. The name was selected based on feedback from chamber members and the community.

The new chamber will move away from working at a community level and begin working more at a county, state and regional level.

“Both chambers have been working at the community level. We realized we wanted to move up to work more at the county level,” Schroeder said. “We really are interetested in doing a lot more with the state and looking at being involved in the legislative processes, the Indiana state chamber, the southwestern regional area. We want to work more at that higher level.”

The transistion committee has developed a vision and mission for the Dubois County Chamber of Commerce. The vision is “To support our business community with a unified voice.” The chamber’s mission reads: “The Dubois County Chamber of Commerce serves businesses of all sizes by providing leadership, legislative advocacy, and member-to-member collaborative opportunities by working at a county, regional, and state level to foster growth and profitability for our members.”

“By doing that, we really aren’t in competition with any other chamber in the county,” Schroeder said. “We have our own thing going. And it will be collaborative with any other organization here.”

The Jasper Chamber of Commerce welcomes the new chamber and is looking forward to future collaborations, Executive Director Nancy Eckerle said this morning.

“We work with all organizations,” she said. “And we definitely want to be a working partner with that organization.”

The Dubois County Chamber of Commerce will have a new board and a new executive director. The transition committee is seeking members for the board. There will be an application process and those interested should contact Schroeder at huntingburgchamber@gmail.com.

The search for a new director will begin in December. Schroeder will see the transition through and until the new director is in place. She will then depart from the chamber to pursue other endeavors.

“I have some other passions, and I have four kids,” she said. “I want to do more in the community at a volunteer level.”

As the transition is happening, all correspondence will go to the Huntingburg Chamber’s current office.

“There is a lot we left vague, so that the new board of directors and new executive director can make those decisions,” Schroeder said. “Once the new board and new director are in place, I foresee that they may look at a different location.

“They need to take ownership in this process. So we want them to be able to make those decisions.”

Along with the vision and mission, the transition committee has developed three yeas of goals for the new chamber. After that, the new board will develop the chamber’s strategic plan.

“The transition committee views itself as the architect of the house,” Schroeder said. “We started the foundation. We have the blueprints. But this new board and this new director are going to have to build the house. The role of the new board and new director is to build the chamber from [the] foundation that we started, using the blueprints that we have.”




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