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Greater Atlantic City Chamber

A message from our Chair, Ken Calemmo:

Our 2010/2011 business plan is focused and aggressive. Our Chair’s Council will strengthen our business advocacy efforts. We will focus more attention on issue-oriented events while continuing programs designed to create business opportunities for our members. The Community Development Corporation will work to provide housing and support efforts to establish the Aviation Research and Technology Park at the FAA. Our transportation/infrastructure efforts will be closely aligned with the plans of SJTA and the CRDA.

Small Business Services will feature a new Buy Local Program to create additional business opportunities for members and discount programs designed to lower your cost of doing business. We will continue to work towards a clean/safe boardwalk that respects existing businesses while attracting new ones.

Thank you for your support of the Chamber’s efforts.

Kenneth J. Calemmo, Jr.

A message from our Chair-Elect Sam Young:

I would like to thank Ken Calemmo, Chamber Chair, and the entire Board for their leadership over the past year and for the excellent plan for the coming year. I hope you share my sense of pride in our Chamber and are excited about the plans for the future.

The long-term strategies for the Chamber include:

• Addressing the infrastructure need (housing and transportation) to facilitate our wonderful growth opportunities.
• Sharing statewide the impact of casinos while gaining respect for the 40,000 jobs that will be created.
• Continuing to create business opportunities for our members while fostering a business environment that encourages investment by both existing and new companies.
• Seeking fair and consistent business regulations for both large and small businesses.
• Continuing to work to lower the cost of government and healthcare.
• Increasing business support of the Chamber so that the required resources will be available to provide meaningful services to members and the community at large.

I look forward to serving as your Chair starting June 2011.

Sam Young

2009 ANNUAL REPORT – 2010-2011 BUSINESS PLAN

ADVOCACY

2009 was an exceptionally busy one on the advocacy front. The Chamber’s advocacy initiatives, important in favorable economic times, take on an even greater sense of importance in more challenging times such as this.

Through our Chair’s Council advocacy arm, we remain committed to working on behalf of all Chamber members to ensure that our elected officials and other public sector leaders are sensitive and responsive to the needs of the business community. We are also committed to fostering cooperation and collaboration among the private and public sectors to advance our collective interests.

2009 Highlights

• Continued to support the Next Generation Aviation Research and Technology Park at the FAA Tech Center.
• Continued to oppose Racetrack Slots.
• Continued to support of the Atlantic City Regional Transportation Plan to improve access to and from Atlantic City and Atlantic County.
• Supported coalition to expand air service expansion at AC International Airport.
• Spearheaded and supported proposed legislation that would allow for inclusion of Atlantic City in two state tax credit programs that would facilitate redevelopment in Atlantic City:

• Neighborhood Revitalization Tax Credit Program
• Urban Transit Hub Tax Credit Program

• Led opposition to the 2.5 percent Council On Affordable Housing (COAH) developer’s fee. Our leadership on this issue helped result in a provision of the State Senate and Assembly Economic Stimulus measures to suspend this fee and also resulted in pending legislation that would abolish COAH.
• Continued to oppose the Employee Free Choice Act.
• Supported regulatory changes to the Casino Control Act, which will result in significant cost savings to the industry.
• Supported proposal that led to an executive order from the new governor declaring Casino Control Commission employees as "essential employees," thus precluding another shutdown of Atlantic City casinos in the event of a state budget impasse.
• Supported the Boardwalk Committee’s proposal to lower height of the sand dunes on Atlantic City beaches to enhance the visitor experience on the boardwalk.
• Supported legislation that will enable Atlantic City beach bars to remain standing year-round, resulting in substantial savings to the business owners.
• Opposed UAW’s tactics detrimental to Atlantic City’s interests.
• Provided forums for Chairs Council and Chamber members to meet then-Republican gubernatorial candidate Chris Christie and then-Assembly Speaker Joseph Roberts and share ideas with both about a pro-business and a pro-Atlantic City agenda.
• Supported tax incentive program and associated legislation that will facilitate completion of the Revel project.
• Presented advocacy events, including Major Construction Projects/Development Forecast, Economic Stimulus Package Forum and Healthcare Reform Panel Discussion.

2010 Goals

• Further establish the Chair’s Council Committee of the Chamber as the area’s leading business advocacy group and the clearinghouse for those seeking business input or support on both private and public sector issues.
• Increase investment and employment opportunities in Atlantic County.
• Work to establish a fair and consistent regulatory environment in Atlantic County.
• Support infrastructure improvements in Atlantic County.
• Work with others to reduce and eliminate barriers to more events and conventions in Atlantic City.

Specific action steps have been developed for addressing these goals. Those action steps are available on the website.

EVENTS

The Greater Atlantic City Chamber is the foremost business organization and the best connection for networking in the Atlantic County region. From networking events to expos, conferences, recognition programs, training and committee meetings, Chamber events are designed to strengthen, enhance and develop business for our members and are Am cost-effective way to put your company in front of business professionals.

Consider the benefits of sponsoring a Chamber program or event! Chamber events create business opportunities for our members while providing them with important information to help them run their businesses. The Chamber’s annual calendar of events includes The Atlantic City Hospitality Trade Show, The Atlantic City Airshow, Quarterly Business Advocacy Series, The Annual Meeting and Board Installation, Business Man and Redenia Gilliam-Mosee Business Woman of the Year, Mainlander of the Year, The Invitational Golf Classic, our monthly Business After Hour Programs and luncheon and breakfast series to promote local restaurants/ golf courses while creating networking opportunities for members.

2009 Highlights

• Presented a monthly networking business mixer, bimonthly networking luncheons/breakfasts, two Business Recognition events, and a golf outing. These popular events attracted over 3,000 in attendance.
• The Chamber continues to serve as the administrative group for the Atlantic City Airshow, which is now considered Atlantic City’s signature event of the summer. Last year’s show hit a new attendance record of an estimated 750,000 attendees and generated over 7 million media impressions including being recognized by ForbesTraveler.com as “the Boardwalk’s premier summer event.”
• Created partnerships with The Atlantic City Hotel and Lodging Association and the Milton and Betty Katz Jewish Community Center to present our Atlantic City Hospitality Trade Show and Senior Expo. These partnerships consolidate resources and provide better value and service to our sponsors, participants and attendees.
• Presented issue-oriented programs including a Construction Projects Forecast and Economic Stimulus Package Breakfast Forums that drew record-breaking attendances for both sessions.

2010 Goals

• Continue to present Quarterly Business Advocacy Programs and other events/meetings designed to advance the Chamber’s legislative agenda.
• Continue to present a diverse calendar of events designed to create affordable, flexible business networking and business opportunities.
• Continue to present major community events (i.e. Airshow) designed to stimulate the economy in our marketplace.
• Achieve financial goals for events as set forth in the Chamber’s annual budget.

MEMBERSHIP DEVELOPMENT & RETENTION

Membership in the Greater Atlantic City Chamber involves both expectations and commitment. Expectation, because every member who invests in his or her business via Chamber membership expects value in return for their membership. Commitment, because, as with most things, what people get out of their Chamber membership is largely dependent on what they put in. The expression “Membership has its rewards” is certainly applicable to the Chamber. Through your membership, you have the opportunity to participate in networking events, gain exposure for your business and have the Chamber work on behalf of each and every member through its pro-active business/legislative advocacy efforts, as well as its economic development initiatives. Additionally, membership in the Chamber helps build prestige and credibility and provides valuable support to the entire business community. A newly formed Ambassador’s Committee helps to maintain and enhance relationships among new and existing members.

2009 Highlights

• Grew the Chamber’s Volunteer Ambassador Program by 100%. Ambassadors now assist at all Chamber events and conduct the new member orientation programs.
• With the support of the Chair’s Council, membership revenue for the Chamber went up by 25% in 2009.
• Put in place a new commission based membership investment representative.

2010 Goals

• Continue the Chair’s Council membership of 40 members.
• Retain 90% of the budgeted revenue expected from member renewals.
• Generate new member revenue in accordance with the budget set forth by the Chamber’s Board of Directors.

COMMUNICATIONS

The image of the Chamber is among its top priorities. To enhance the image and promote the Chamber’s agenda, the organization must develop and maintain favorable relationships with key media contacts. This division is responsible for internal and external communications. Among the communications vehicles used by the Chamber to inform its members, prospective members and other constituents, are a bi-monthly e-newsletter, email blasts and the Website.

2009 Highlights

• Took a more pro-active approach to publicizing the Chamber’s brand, including business advocacy work, events, economic development efforts and member benefits.
• Consolidated the database and made a concerted effort to ensure we have the proper information on each member to enhance communications and referrals.
• Continued to keep content on Chamber Website fresh and added a Buy Local application.
• Enhanced the Chamber’s E-Voice newsletter.
• Re-organized the Communications Committee of the Chamber to now include some of the leading media, marketing and public relations specialists from our marketplace.

2010 Goals

• Make the Chamber’s Website more user-friendly with added attention on business advocacy services while continuing to feature the benefits of being a Chamber member.
• Be pro-active in publicizing Chamber activities including events, business advocacy development efforts and the benefits of being a Chamber member.
• Produce the Chamber’s E-Voice newsletter six times a year.
• Publish a membership directory for 2011.
• Conduct surveys of Chamber members to determine services and satisfaction levels.

SMALL BUSINESS

The heart of the Chamber is small business. About 90% of all Chamber members are small businesses. The Chamber works to create business opportunities for small businesses by making referrals, presenting networking events and offering affordable marketing and discount programs to lower their cost of doing business. Additionally, the Chamber’s Chairs’ Council provides advocacy assistance to small business members through their legislative services. New for 2010, the Chamber will partner with Stockton’s Small Business Development Center to offer education/training programs.

2009 Highlights

• Did the planning and put the structure in place for our member discount program, the Chamber’s Buy Local effort.
• Provided networking opportunities for thousands of small business members through the Chamber’s events department.
• Provided marketing opportunities for small businesses through Chamber publications and our website.
• Provided advocacy services to small business members through the Chamber’s legislative efforts.

2010 Goals

• Work with The Richard Stockton College of New Jersey’s Small Business Development Center to establish a committee to provide education/training programs.
• Working with The Press of Atlantic City’s BizFinder Program to implement a “Buy Local” member’s discount program.
• Continue to provide networking opportunities and referrals.
• Continue to provide affordable marketing opportunities.
• Continue to provide business advocacy services.

ATLANTIC COUNTY COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION

The Atlantic County Community Development Corporation (ACCDC) exists to support and fund the orderly development of Atlantic County. The corportation works to foster communications and cooperation between business and government. It is a non-political group serving as the lead economic development agency for the Greater Atlantic City Chamber.

2009 Highlights

• Strengthen the partnership between the Volunteers of America and the Atlantic County Community Development Corporation to consider housing and other projects of common interest in Atlantic County.
• Continue to strengthen business representation on the CDC Board of Directors.
• Started efforts to establish a First Time Home Buyer Program in Atlantic County.
• Advocated for business representation on the Next Generation Aviation Research & Technology Park’s Board of Directors.

2010 Goals

• Present First Time Home Buyer Program throughout Atlantic County.
• Position the Atlantic County Community Development Corportation as a lead economic development group in Atlantic County.
• Ensure that the Atlantic County Community Development Corporation and the Chamber of Commerce are represented on the Next Generation Aviation Research & Technology Park’s Board of Directors.

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