Chamber presidents talk about past year, look ahead

The message was about looking at disappointments in the past, but hope for the future as the incoming and outgoing chairmen of the board of directors for the Morristown Area Chamber of Commerce spoke Thursday for the Chamber’s annual luncheon.

Jim Price, director of technical innovation at Iconex, is the departing chairman for the 2020 year, while Steve Amos, president of First Peoples Bank, has been named chairman for 2021.

Price acknowledged the past year.

“A little more than a year ago, I stood before you at the 2019 annual meeting and spoke about my plans for the chamber,” Price said. “I think we know the old saying, ‘Want to make God laugh? Tell him your plans.’”

The annual luncheon was held virtually Thursday due to COVID19 precautions. So, both Price’s and Amos’s remarks were prerecorded a week earlier.

Price looked back on the past year and pointed out there had been some good things occur in a year dominated by a pandemic, unemployment and civil unrest.

Price said that gave the Chamber new challenges.

“As the Covid-19 pandemic took hold, the Chamber had to change to remain relevant to our membership,” he said.

Some of those changes included providing membership with the most up-to-date pandemic information and helping with economic recovery, all while protecting Chamber staff.

He spoke about how the Chamber was able to be flexible and provided events virtually like the Business Showcase and Industrial Appreciation. Some events, however, like the Craft Beer Festival had to be canceled.

The number of activities for 2020 by the Chamber included:

• Seven outdoor events with 1,592 participants

• 46 new members

• 25 ribbon cuttings

• 3,648 relocation packets sent

• 80 local industries recognized

• 35 local businesses showcased

• $83.5 million in industrial capital investments

• More than 300 new industrial jobs

• Almost $110 million in tourist spending

Concluding, Price recognized Joe Swann, the board’s treasurer, who is retiring. He said Swann had given the board 18 years of service.

Amos thanked Price for his leadership and spoke about how because of the struggles of the past year, it has made the community stronger.

“We did not anticipate the struggles of 2020, but they have created opportunity,” he said. “They have opened doors for our community to come together and to emerge from the struggle stronger and better prepared for the future.”

He said leaders past and present have forged a community that knows how to deal with struggles.

“The struggles of the past year are not over, but our community is ready,” Amos said. “As such, I would like for our 2021 Chamber theme to be, ‘embrace the struggle and emerge stronger.’”