YEARS OF EXPERIENCE
By Peggy Arnold, San Angelo Chamber of Commerce
The San Angelo Chamber of Commerce has had much to celebrate and much to mourn in 2016. Our kickoff event of the year, the Chamber’s Annual Banquet, was a huge celebration of the organization’s 100th anniversary with a look back at a century of progress and a look forward to a bright future. Little did we know that one week after our event, we would lose our Chamber President of 10 years, Phil Neighbors, to a sudden cardiac event.
Dealing with the shock and loss brought the Chamber staff, volunteer leadership and membership together like never before. Although we suffered a monumental loss, our chamber has survived and thrived because San Angelo has done what we do best — pulled together, supported one another and continued the work that is designed to foster a healthy, growing community.
Since its formation in 1916, the chamber has had its fingerprints on nearly every aspect of our community’s growth and development. The past century is dotted with abundant examples of chamber and community leaders working together to seize opportunities and overcome challenges. Early records document many partnership efforts that resulted in securing some of San Angelo’s largest and most enduring employers.
And as potentially devastating challenges arose, such as the possible closure of Goodfellow Air Force Base or the San Angelo State Supported Living Center, those partnerships leapt into action again and again to save thousands of jobs and the potential blow to our economy.
Our mission to promote a business and tourism environment to assure the economic growth and well-being of our members and our community figures prominently in every goal and objective developed by our board of directors, and this mission is being carried out by staff with more involvement than ever before by our volunteer leaders and members. What a beautiful testament to the legacy of Phil Neighbors: continuing the work to which he dedicated so much love and energy.
As a 4-star accredited Chamber of Commerce, our achievements have placed our organization in the top 3 percent of chambers in the nation, and this is primarily due to the involvement and commitment of our members. With more than 1,100 member businesses and 1,700+ individuals, we are 100 years strong and prepared to face the future with the chamber’s new president and CEO, Dan Koenig, whose hiring was announced in July. Dan began his duties in August 2016 and brings extensive chamber and nonprofit organization management experience and leadership skills to the San Angelo chamber’s top staff position. For those who are not already members, we invite you to explore the benefits of joining the Chamber. For as little as $23 a month, you can be a part of the successes we will document in the next century.