Russell’s Ramblings

Those who do not hear the music might think the dancer mad

Chamber Celebrates 25th Year of Service to Lake Norman Regional Business Community

Annual Banquet & Meeting: Thursday, January 24, 2013 at Havana Banquet & Ballroom

Bobby Cashion and 2011 Chamber Chairman Robert Reed present John Bradford of Park Avenue Properties, LLC (center) with the 2011 Robert T. Cashion Business Person of the Year.

Bobby Cashion and 2011 Chamber Chairman Robert Reed present John Bradford of Park Avenue Properties, LLC (center) with the 2011 Robert T. Cashion Business Person of the Year.

On Thursday, January 24th at 6:30 p.m. Chamber officers and members will gather at the Havana Banquet & Ballroom 8325 Copley Drive in Cornelius to celebrate this past year of accomplishment and reward key individuals who set the benchmark in our region at the Lake Norman Chamber Annual Awards Gala.  The prestigious Cashion Business Person of the Year will once again be bestowed upon a deserving individual in the region. In addition, the Duke Power Citizenship and Service Award will be presented to an individual, group, or business.  The purpose of the award is to recognize and reward leadership and/or involvement in volunteerism and community service.

Chamber Chairman Jack Salzman will give a brief recap of 2012 highlights before handing the reigns of leadership over to incoming Chamber Chairman Wendy Moran.

Chamber President Bill Russell stated that since the Chamber of Commerce was celebrating Twenty-Five years, the organizing committee felt something unique and memorable should take place in lieu of the typical dinner speaker. “This year we will have three dynamic community leaders who will share how the Chamber “Grows local business, serves as a relentless advocate for business, and touches lives.”

Current Board Chairman Jack Salzman, owner of Lake Norman Chrysler

Chamber President Bill Russell with newly elected NC Senator Jeff Tarte

Chamber President Bill Russell with newly elected NC Senator Jeff Tarte

Jeep Dodge Ram, has focused on the creation of a new website for the Chamber to enhance the organization’s ability to promote the membership as well as make it easier for members to access information regarding programming and member benefits online.  Salzman also introduced a new business development program called the “Competitive Edge”, held in November, and which will debut this month on the Chamber’s website.

Wendy Moran is a Vice President and Business Center Manager for Peoples Bank in Denver, North Carolina.   Moran’s banking career spans 20 years and a myriad of titles.  But her passion for working directly with clients, developing market share and her community involvement made her the unanimous choice as the 2013 Board Chairman for the Lake Norman Chamber of Commerce.  The Black Tie optional event is presented by the Lake Norman Citizen; Gold Sponsors include Duke Energy Presbyterian Hospital Huntersville and Lake Norman Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram; and Silver Sponsors are The McIntosh Law Firm, Ice by Premo, n2 Publishing, Business Today and Regions Bank. The 2013 Bronze sponsors are Bentz & Associates and CommunityOne Bank.  Sponsorships are still available and the cost per person is $65. To make a reservation or inquire about sponsorships call Brett Zabek at 704-892-1922.

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January 10, 2013 Posted by | Chamber of Commerce | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Time to saddle up

Bill Russell – Junior and Senior

This past weekend, I went horseback riding with my father through some of the trails and woods behind our family farm. It was a hot and humid July Sunday afternoon, so the shade was a  welcome relief. I’m not the horseman my dad is and I’m always leery of the tree branches as our horses step gingerly over fallen logs and soft ground.

While dad usually rides his Tennessee Walker Traveler, I ride Duke, a gorgeous young quarter horse.  We occasionally get some degree of separation between us as dad seems to, and I say this hesitantly, know where he is going but I most certainly do not.

Then as we exit into a clearing Duke loves to take off into a lope to catch up.  So, I’ve learned to always be ever ready for the unexpected when sitting atop Duke.  On the few occasions I have remarked why we also seem to venture off familiar ground and make new trails? Dad responds, “you never want to cover the same ground twice do you?”

A few days ago, new Charlotte Mecklenburg School Superintendent Dr. Heath Morrison addressed a sold out luncheon of nearly 100 Chamber members and elected officials as he outlined his plan for our public school system.  Heath is a dynamic speaker and he connected well with his audience.

 Addressing our lake crowd, he reminded us all that ships are safest in the harbor, but that’s not what ships are built for and he and the board intend on meeting our challenges and embracing unbridled opportunities with new strategies.  CMS will utilize technology to advance education.  While expensive, and requiring a significant investment, the results will pay off.

When someone asked me recently what I thought were the most striking differences between Dr. Morrison and his predecessor Dr. Gorman.  I remarked, “While both are great speakers and the consummate professional, Dr. Gorman also appeared as if he had all the answers.  He exuded a calculated confidence.  No doubt Heath is a confident man too who has been successful in education.  However, his responses to questions seem to be more genuine and he strikes me as a person who may have a bit more humility.  He may not have all the answers, but together, we’ll seek them out.”

Jack Salzman, Ericka Ellis Stewart, Dr. Heath Morrison, Rhonda Lennon, and Bill Russell at PowerLuncheon

For our Chamber to be successful, your business and all of our members must be successful.  We too have invested heavily in our technology this year, creating a website designed to interface with search engines to give our members better exposure.

We are initiating new programs and we intend to venture onto unfamiliar trails as we look to provide you real time training, through the Internet, at times and on topics that best serve you and your business. 

We can all feel the economy moving as we make announcements of new jobs to the region, home sales rising, and retailers hearing registers ring.  While we are still far from where we want to be, our ship has left the harbor and there is wind in our sails.

Riding the trails with my dad is always an experience.  Each step of the horse is met with mild trepidation as Duke tests his footing.  I have to be ever ready for the occasional branch or the close run against the tree.  Not to mention, holding on tight when Duke dashes into the open or down the hill through the stream – but what a ride!

Leadership is about getting your people from where they are – to where they have not been.  For those willing to get involved, we’re headed where we have not been.  Whether you are an equestrian or you love the water – I invite you to saddle up and get on board!

August 7, 2012 Posted by | Chamber of Commerce | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment