Chairman's MessageAt the Chamber’s 116th Inaugural Celebration, the Chamber looked back on the past year of significant progress and growth in our local economy. Building a stronger local economy is the essential focus of this Chamber. It is central to every program we hold, every issue we take on, and every position we take. That progress would not have been possible without the leadership and guidance of our outgoing chair, Bob Stockton. He has done an amazing job of leading the Chamber through a successful 2015.
One of the big challenges tackled this year by our community was the success in bringing CARB to Riverside. This collaborative effort between UCR, the City, the County, state legislators, and the Chamber is a reflection of the close ties we all have to one another. This collaboration and team effort should not stop at CARB. We must always be looking forward to what is next.
The Chamber will continue to advocate with our legislators, U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein and Representatives Ken Calvert and Mark Takano, that the presence of our military bases is crucial to our region. Both these bases continue to add high-wage jobs and recruit from our local colleges and universities. They are rapidly growing and represent an $800 million dollar a year impact on our local economy. They play a key and strategic role in our national defense. As a community, we must protect our bases and ensure their continued success.
Another top priority this year will be to continue to encourage entrepreneurship and new business growth by working with the City to finalize the streamlining process for reviewing and approving plans for future development. This will assist in attracting and growing local businesses in Riverside.
We will also encourage more education partnerships with our local school districts and higher education colleges and universities to provide the best quality learning experience for our students. We will continue to support allowing high school students to acquire college-level credits in science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics and move towards establishing a STEAM academy for high school students on UCR’s campus. This initiative is a perfect example of how different groups within our city are uniting under a common goal.
Above all else, we must continue to support our members. This means creating opportunities for them to make new connections to expand their business. It means representing their interests with our elected leaders and staying at the forefront of the latest issues that impact our economy. It also means keeping them informed on the latest issues impacting Riverside and the opportunities for them to engage and make a difference.
Clearly, there is a lot of work to be done. If we pull our resources together and maintain these connections, then we will certainly accomplish great things for our region.