By Kristin Rover
Business is ramping up, and 2013 was a year of progress, according to officials with the Clermont County Chamber of Commerce.
The organization held its 2014 annual meeting and small business awards luncheon Feb. 7, and chairman Bob Manning discussed the past year with members.
“We are very excited with what went on at the chamber in 2013,” Manning said.
Manning said some important projects that began last year including the Eastern Corridor construction that is underway in the Eastgate area.
He said they saw an increase in commercial permits and multi-family housing in Clermont County.
“It was the third best year for multi-family construction in Clermont County,” Manning said. “And we more than doubled commercial permits.”
Manning said they also worked hard to educate workers and provide jobs through LEAD Clermont and the Work Ready Initiative.
Manning said much of the progress being made is thanks to public and private partnerships led by Community Improvement Corporations, Joint Economic Development Districts, the Port Authority and the Clermont County Transportation Improvement District.
He thanked all of the individuals who were involved with chamber projects last year, including volunteers who donated their time, and board members.
“Nothing would get done without volunteers,” Manning said.
Manning was presented with a gavel for his work as chairman of the board in 2013.
Warren Walker, who was elected to serve as chairman this year, spoke about goals for 2014.
“I am fortunate to have this opportunity,” Walker said. “The names who went before me paved the way for my success.”
Walker said he is excited to see the number of people who attended the annual meeting, and feels it is a great sign for the involvement in the chamber this year.
Walker said he and other chamber officials are going to continue to focus on economic development and jobs and job training in 2014.
“I get the opportunity to sit at a table when companies are looking here,” Walker said. “The first or second question asked is ‘what does the labor force look like?’”
Walker said hat continuing to prepare workers for the jobs in the area is on their agenda for the future and they are already working on it with the Workforce Readiness Initiative.
“Your conversations will help make this program successful,” Walker said.
He said the chamber is also hoping to continue to provide various programs for business owners and employees in Clermont County.
“We value the relationships in this room,” he said.
Nearly 750 businesses and individuals are members of the Clermont County Chamber of Commerce.
For more information about the Clermont County Chamber of Commerce, visit www.clermontchamber.com.