County Chambers of Commerce taking different approach

LISBON – The newly-restructured Columbiana County Chambers of Commerce gathered last week for its second monthly meeting of the year. The organization, which consists of representatives from individual chambers across the county, has met regularly in the past, but is taking a new approach this year.

Last month, for the first time in its existence, the board elected four members to serve two-year terms as officers. Randy Allmon, president of the Wellsville Area Chamber, will serve as executive director, Audrey Null (Salem Chamber) will serve as vice-chairwoman, Marilyn McCullough (Lisbon Chamber) was elected secretary, while April Brinker (Columbiana Chamber) will be treasurer.

Allmon hopes the election of officers goes a long way toward making the chamber meetings more organized and efficient.

“In the past when we’ve met, it was always more of a social gathering without much of a pre-set agenda,” Allmon said. “This year we are taking greater steps to coordinate various activities with each other to more effectively promote business across the county.”

Among the things planned by the board will be a special Business of the Month award to be handed out by a different area chamber each month. At the end of the year, the County Chambers will select a Business of the Year and hold a dinner honoring the occasion.

“We hope there will be more opportunity for our members to reach out and bounce ideas off each other,” Allmon said. ” It’s important to remember that our area chambers are not competitors. We have a shared interest in seeing this county grow economically.”

The top item for the Chambers right now is planning the fourth annual Columbiana County Economic Summit. The event will be held from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. May 6 at the Salem Community Center. Admission is $50 with attendance capped at 100 people. Lunch will be served.

The focus this year will be growing the economic competitiveness of Northeast Ohio. The program currently includes a one-hour workshop put on by Team NEO – an organization which seeks to attract business to Northeast Ohio- as well as an appearance by Dave Nestic, chief executive of regional operations for the Tech Belt Energy Innovation Center in Warren.

The Chambers of Commerce is looking to add more guests, but cannot comment on any possibilities.

Businesses wishing to sponsor the event can contact their local Chamber of Commerce. The price is $100.