Following a year of “unprecedented” economic development successes, the Greater Raleigh Chamber of Commerce celebrated the prior fiscal year at the organization’s annual meeting on Thursday in downtown Raleigh. And the organization also looked ahead to the progress it anticipates for the city and for the region.
In remarks, the outgoing chair of the board of directors, Kevin Howell, called the 2021-2022 fiscal year a season of “unprecedented” economic development. And the organization also welcomed a new board chair, Dan Cahill, a managing partner at Poyner Spruill LLP, and new members of the board of directors.
While discussing the year to come and advocating for the passage of three bonds that will be on voter’s ballots this November, Cahill stated that the Chamber would be “laser-focused” on progress for the region.
THE YEAR AHEAD
In remarks, both Howell and Raleigh Chamber of Commerce CEO Adrienne Cole celebrated the economic development projects announced during the prior year as well as the state’s ranking as the top state for business by CBNC earlier this year.
“The Chamber has generated incredible momentum for businesses in this region, and the team’s work has resulted in truly impactful accomplishments,” said Howell, adding that the year ahead looks “bright.”
Cahill noted that there is still work to be done in the coming year.
“The Chamber and our Wake County Economic Development team will sustain our commitment to investments in our 12 municipalities with a focus on talent, job creation, workforce development, and equitable economic development,” said Cahill. “Our standing on the global economic development stage continues to rise.”
TRANSIT WILL BE A FOCUS, TOO
Cahill’s remarks also included comments on the region’s transportation and transit initiatives, and he reiterated that the Chamber expects to continue to advocate for systems that will support businesses, residents, and commuters.
“We will continue our long-standing commitment to development, transportation, and transit systems that support our growing community and our dedication to businesses large and small,” said Cahill.
In remarks, Howell also commented on the work of the Regional Transportation Alliance, a business coalition and program of the Raleigh Chamber.
Howell reiterated RTA’s commitment to “positively influence transportation initiatives that affect all businesses” and referencing the current fare-free bus program. He also alluded to support for future transit development.
“We can’t forget the successful RTA leadership tour to South Florida, where participants experienced firsthand transit solutions that could become a reality in our region,” said Howell.
RALEIGH’S DIVERSITY INITIATIVES
In closing out and celebrating the prior year, Howell highlighted Raleigh’s annual diversity, equity, and inclusion conference, which brought more than 1,300 participants together, and the Women’s Leadership Conference, which saw more than 1,000 people participate.
And, looking forward, Howell said that the Chamber will continue to focus on diversity and inclusion.
“As more businesses join the [DEI] Alliance, we continue to drive thought-provoking and courageous actions,” said Howell in his address.
Howell noted the marketing support from the Chamber throughout National Black Business Month and promised continued support from the Chamber for diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives.
BONDS, BONDS, BONDS
Cahill then urged Chamber members and sponsors in attendance to vote for three bonds that will be on the ballot this November, saying that the Chamber will “enthusiastically” support the bonds from Raleigh Parks, Wake County Public Schools, and Wake Technical Community College.
The three bonds would cost over $1 billion. Wake County has proposed a $531 million bond to pay for public school construction and a $353 million bond to expand Wake Tech. The City of Raleigh is proposing a $275 million bond to pay for nearly two dozen park projects.
“Great communities have great schools and great public spaces like parks, and we urge you to support all three initiatives,” said Cahill in his address.
Raleigh Mayor Mary-Ann Baldwin, a who is also a member of the Chamber’s board of directors, attended the annual meeting and spoke at the Vote Yes Raleigh Parks campaign kickoff on Wednesday.
Original Article Source: WRAL TechWire