Longtime Richmond Hill-Bryan County Chamber of Commerce member Bonnie Proctor officially took over as the chamber’s chairman Monday night at the organization’s annual banquet in the Speir-Brogdon Building.
Proctor told members she wants to continue the Chamber’s work from previous years – including the Great Ogeechee Seafood Festival and the Business Expo, which Proctor noted will be bigger and better.
“The 2007 Business Expo will be improved and will expand,” she said. “The Seafood Festival will be the third weekend in October and Farmers Almanac predicts good weather. Business after hours will continue. This year is almost completely scheduled.”
She also said the chamber will work with the state on a program for entrepreneurs looking to start new businesses.
Proctor also encouraged members to take advantage of chamber services while also asking for ideas on how to make the organization better.
“Please bring any concerns to the board,” she said.
Proctor, who has been on the chamber’s board of directors since 1992, also introduced the 2007 board members.
They include Bryan Bank and Trust’s Brad Brookshire, Leigh Breon from REMAX Accent, Jerry DeLoach from Coastal Communications, Magnolia Manor’s Rich DeLong and Laura Evans from Edward Jones Investments.
Also on the 2007 board are Mark Griffin of the Bryan County News, Michele Henderson from Henderson and Harris, Harry Hooten from the First Bank of Coastal Georgia, Jack Hyde from Executive Resorts and Bill Johnston from the Industrial Company,.
Also on the board are Kim Laska of Richmond Hill Bank, Susie MacMillan from Richmond Hill Car Wash, Doug Martin of Martin’s Tax Service, Angus McLeod from REMAX Accent, Janet Thayer from Coastal Atlantic Mortgage. Proctor remains an associate member. She took the reins from outgoing chairman Rich DeLong, who said he will remain active in chamber affairs while serving on the board over the next three years.
“My goal for the chamber foor 2007 is to see the county be designated as an Entrepreneurial Friendly Community, with the chamber leading the way for for retail and service industry development in Richmond Hill and Bryan County,” DeLong said. “I would also like to see our chamber establish a program of recognition for those businesses that demonstrate excellence in their field and give back to the community.”
DeLong, who provided members a report on 2006, recounted some of the group’s accomplishments over the past 12 months.
Those included purchasing office space in the Speir-Brogdon Building, hiring Executive Director Kittie Franklin and Administrative Assistant Joan Chase, creating a program to emphasize member benefits and what DeLong termed an active season of Business After Hours, DeLong said.
The chamber, which registered 70 new members, also worked with Leadership Bryan and the Women’s Business Alliance on the Second Annual Business Expo of Richmond Hill, graduated its third Leadershp Bryan Class and began a new class this year while also putting on the biggest Seafood Festival yet.
More than 30,000 people attended the three-day event.
The chamber also worked with Arts on the Coast to get original art entries for the Seafood Festival Poster Contest.
DeLong also thanked several people, including Richmond Hill Mayor Richard Davis – guest speaker at Monday’s banquet – and city council members for their support.
He also thanked Thayer and the Seafood Festival committee and volunteers, along with Seafood Festival sponsors Lloyd Murray and the law firm of Murray, Harvey, Balbo and Nelson.
In addition, Gene and Carol Brogdon were thanked for supporting the chamber and donating the space for the group’s annual meeting; Andy Foley for helping prepare the meeting space; the group’s board of directors; DeLoach, David Aspinwall and Bill Johnston for welcome signs on Hwy. 17 and attorney Christy Balbo for her help with the contract on the new office.
The chamber’s board of directors will meet Feb. 3 to establish goals for the coming year, Proctor said.