A Coalition of the Willing

By Mike McDorman, President & CEO

During my time here, there are two constants that you continue to want from your chamber membership.  First, you continue to NEED THE CHAMBER TO DO SOMETHING FOR YOU.  You may want us to advocate for you on a specific issue impacting your business or organization, offer you a unique member benefit or savings opportunity like the popular Speedway gas cards, or you may want us to provide a B2B Connection or networking opportunity at events like this one.


Secondly, you want TO GET SOMETHING DONE THROUGH THE CHAMBER.  We are here when you need us to work on various challenges affecting your business or industry sector.  


I received a call just last week from a member regarding a proposed government fee increase that would have a very negative impact on their company.  We were able to quickly contact the parties involved and begin the process of helping the company with this potentially costly issue.


Arguably, the biggest issue affecting our members today is related to workforce and talent.  Our Jobs & Jobs Readiness committee made up of approximately 40 stakeholders has developed some nationally recognized initiatives and continues to work tirelessly to help address this ongoing challenge affecting our companies.
We would say the third area our members need the chamber to be focused on now more than ever is “THOUGHT LEADERSHIP.”  The Chamber, along with a coalition of the willing, is envisioning where our ecosystem needs to go for your Businesses and Organizations to be successful long-term.


Tony Dungy has a quote on VISION that I love.  In fact, I placed it at the footer of my e-mail several years ago.  He says, 
“The first step toward creating an improved future is developing the ability to envision it. VISION will ignite the fire of passion that fuels our commitment to do WHATEVER IT TAKES to achieve excellence. Only VISION allows us to transform dreams of greatness into the reality of achievement through human action. VISION has no boundaries and knows no limits. Our VISION is what we become in life.”


The Chamber will need to continue to help align the community partners and a coalition of the willing around a vision that will ignite our passion to keep getting into the same boat and to keep rowing like crazy in the same direction.  That is called a “Power 10” by rowing teams needing to pull harder in order to catch the competition.


So, what is on our HORIZON?  The good news is, our sun is not setting. Our sun is rising again!  


As Quint said multiple times during his time here in Springfield, we have a lot of bright spots.  He also said we have a high level of engagement, something we witnessed during his first visit to our community.  For the first time in several decades, there are lots of opportunities downtown.  We have a growing Young Professionals Group, good schools, good healthcare, and access to water.  


So Why is now the right time to double our efforts on attempting to build a vibrant community? Our Community and our organizations desperately need talent!  Many of us who are from this area want our kids and grandkids to have an opportunity here.  But that will not be enough.  We will also need a quality of life necessary to attract the right mix of talent to our community and to your organizations.  We know that type of talent will demand a vibrant, vibey place, not simply a location on a map where they will show up to work.  


Why not a mid-sized city like Springfield, Ohio where there are incredible, Big City amenities that already exist here with new ones being developed during this special time in our history.  We already have a strong community vision, a favorable cost of living, and are very well situated between two major metro markets that are becoming more expensive to live in. 


We simply need to keep working together on implementing the vision while applying what we are learning from people like Quint Studer and towns like Pensacola, Florida.