Remember the Superfund Job Training Initiative the Klamath County Chamber of Commerce was part of in the month of June? (Click here if you've never heard of such a thing). Wonder what happened to the graduates of the program after the last speech was given at graduation, the tables were cleared off, and everyone went home?
It wasn't over for the Super JTI graduates when the graduation party ended. Securing employment is a huge part of the program; you might say it's the main priority for all of the graduates.
The first week following graduation, some graduates received assistance with creating resumes and how to familiarize themselves with the online application process. Then the waiting began; each graduate waited on pins and needles to hear from North Wind, the contracting company engaged by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to perform the work of clean up at the Superfund Site here in Klamath Falls, known as North Ridge Estates. With newly minted certifications in hand, each candidate had an equal opportunity to be selected for interviews with the company.
When you send a letter to the President Barack Obama, you don’t expect to receive a reply. Imagine our surprise when we got one! Last year, Klamath Falls was poised for the return of air service to the Crater Lake-Klamath Regional Airport. PenAir was ready to provide commercial passenger service to our community. Unfortunately, TSA Security refused to return based on their interpretation of some rules. Our community disagreed and set out to change their minds.
Back in February, our staff, Government Affairs Committee, and membership started writing letters and making phone calls. One of these letters was to President Barack Obama. Our letter asked Obama to consider the needs of our rural community and to urge the TSA to reconsider their position. Today, we received a response with great news. The TSA wrote that after reassessment, federal screening resources are warranted at the Crater Lake-Klamath Regional Airport. This is a win for our community!
We didn’t do it alone. Congressman Greg Walden and Senators Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley introduced legislation and fought for its passage. Dozens of letters were sent supporting Walden, Wyden and Merkley’s efforts. TSA reconsidered their decision and our small rural community was heard in Washington D.C.
By: Todd Andres, 2016 Chamber President
As the 2015 year came to a close, I noticed an increase in comments on the social networks with friends expressing how their 2015 turned out. A few expressed a good year with the hope of a better 2016. Many more posted how they were happy 2015 was over as the year brought them business challenges or personal grief. Well, good feelings or bad, the bottom line is: They were right!
It is a bit frustrating that many of us look to the end of a year to determine if we were successful or not. We think a “new year” is all it will take for us to improve our current condition. It’s almost like playing the lottery. A calendar is a measurement of time, not a measurement of success. A new year will not change one’s fortune. Instead it is what we chose to do with the time given equally to each of us that will determine our faith.
I would like to quote my favorite coach, the great John Wooden: “There is nothing you can do about yesterday, for it is gone. There is nothing you can do about tomorrow, for it is yet to come. All you can do is focus on today, and what you do today will impact your tomorrow”. This simple phrase has deep principals that successful individuals understand. If you had a poor 2015, it is over. There is nothing anyone can do to change the past. We can learn from the past; but to focus on it is counterproductive. If you want to have a better 2016, focus on the day in front of you. Use the time to focus on improving yourself and/or business. If you are concerned about the future of your business, it is more productive to work on adjustments today instead of worrying about tomorrow. Evaluate your poor habits, we all have some, and develop a positive habit that improves the situation and moves you closer to the desired outcome. Your Klamath County Chamber of Commerce will have many learning opportunities in 2016 to help you with both business and personal growth. Take full advantage of these opportunities. As you begin to build on your positive days, these will create positive weeks, months, and so on….
by: Dan Keppen, Immediate Past President
It took 13 years serving on the Klamath County Chamber of Commerce board of directors before I felt like I had the time to properly dedicate to the job as president of the board, but the wait was definitely worth it.
The past year saw the Chamber finishing the transition from an event-driven organization (e.g. handing over organization of the Fourth of July and Snowflake parades to other, capable local organizations) to one that advocates and educates. The Chamber’s Rural Business Innovation Summit and the Leadercast forum are both examples of the new types of events and training opportunities the Chamber is promoting. Last fall’s business summit, in particular, was praised by both local and statewide participants for its professionalism and the improved impressions it generated in the region regarding the Chamber and our business community.
Overall, I have been encouraged by the many programs and initiatives that the Chamber participates in to advance our economic stability. The continuing evolution of the educational opportunities that the Chamber sponsors for our business community has been a high point, as well as the key role the Chamber has played in the Klamath IDEA and similar initiatives. Reinvigorating the Government Affairs Committee and Military Affairs Committee were two important developments that hold special meaning to me.
It is exciting to see so much energy and focus being applied to growth opportunities and leveraging of resources in Klamath County. Partnerships are forming between many organizations, and across many interests, with the goal of improving, and taking advantage of, opportunities for growth.
Much of the excitement comes from collaboration in a variety of areas, including participation in the Blue Zones initiative, a new mental health campus, a reinvigorated and better resourced economic development association, trails enhancements, a local focus on promoting an entrepreneurial culture, upgrading educational facilities, expansion of higher education offerings, event attraction, a revitalized downtown area, and new commercial development around the region. All of these partnerships require continued support and long term commitments to reach the intended goals and it appears the community is ready for the long haul.
One partnership that required long term assistance and support has taken center stage recently - Passenger Air Service.
Dear Chamber of Commerce Members:
The 2015 Burning Man event will open its gates to the public on August 30, at 10:00 a.m. PDT, and will run through September 7, 2015. Volunteers on the Black Rock City setup crew will begin moving through Klamath Falls later this week en route to the event, and the real rush of Burners will move through Klamath Falls late next week and return September 7-8. There are huge opportunities for local businesses to assist the Burners, especially those on their way home. They have been out in the desert for a week, are sick of eating the same old food, and are looking for: 1) coffee; 2) breakfast; 3) car wash (or people to wash their cars); 4) shower; 5) cold beverages; 6) and a place to rest. Last year, many Main Street businesses likely did not benefit from the Burner exodus, since many were closed, perhaps because of the Labor Day weekend. However, businesses that served breakfast on South Sixth Street did brisk business, as did gas stations and convenience stores. Because some of these travelers parked overnight at places like Walmart, businesses in those areas also did well last year as travelers on their way to and returning from Nevada passed through Klamath Falls.
If you think your business would benefit from the stream of visitors that will be in the area in the coming weeks, we encourage you to hang a welcome sign in the front window of your business (a PDF version of the sign is included) and consider keeping your doors open at a time when you normally might be closed for business. Also, if you would like a larger welcoming banner to exhibit in your business, please feel free to call Heather at the Chamber (541-884-5193) to check on availability.
Parades just happen…don’t they? Prior to my work here at the Chamber, I never gave that much thought. Everywhere I’ve lived, there have been parades. Independence Day, Memorial Day, Christmas, and a host of other celebrations have all involved a parade.
As a child, I’d watch each float waiting for those that threw candy. I’d marvel at the decorations – the flowers, the lights, the music. They were all magical.
As I grew older, I might notice the obvious time and effort it took to make the float. I may have thought about the creativity and imagination that went into the piece of art making its way down the street.
By Dan Keppen, President
Chair, Klamath County Chamber of Commerce Government Affairs Committee
The Klamath County Chamber of Commerce in recent years has pledged to find ways for members of our local business community to further realize tangible results from being a member of the Chamber. Towards this end, the Chamber’s Government Affairs Committee (GAC) has been increasingly active in recent years to monitor, engage in, and influence government policies that affect local businesses.
Small businesses are the key to the economic health of our community. Unfortunately, business owners face a number of significant challenges, including laws and administrative policies that emanate from Washington, D.C., Salem and local city and county governments.
Today, we spoke with Tashia Owen, owner of Tashi Soap Company. She shared her thoughts on Leadership.
Can you name a person who has had a tremendous impact on you as a leader?
I have a few mentors that taught me many things that I looked up to, both in my personal life and in business. I’ll start with my dad. He taught me to respect others, to always make them feel valued, and to be grateful for the things they do for you in life, because everyone is placed in your life for a reason. Always say please, thank you, yes ma’am, no sir, and shake their hand whenever you can. And he told me that I can do anything in life that my heart desires with enough dedication and passion. My mom taught me how to be a hostess; always ask if there is anything I can do for others or see if they need anything. And coming from a long line of many professionals, surgeons, hospital administrators, doctors, I learned that I had it in me somewhere to succeed greatly. My grandmother went through psychology school twice, once in Cuba, and again in the US during the bay of pigs after Castro took over. I always knew that I had to go to College and become something, so twice was nothing. She taught me to never ever stop learning, never be stagnant, always be eager to improve, and never assume that you know it all, and be the first to admit that you’ve made an error.
One of the priorities Chamber members regularly share is the need to improve the skills and dedication of potential employees entering or moving within, the local workforce. This need is echoed by economic development organizations as an important component in business recruitment and expansion efforts.
Due to member input, the Klamath County Chamber of Commerce has taken on a larger role in the regional and statewide programs that drive training and employment opportunities for prospective employees by engaging with businesses to understand future needs. Recently our involvement has increased with the rollout of four new workforce regions and a complete revamping of how programing is envisioned, should be managed, and delivered.
In the past, workforce development focused primarily on the unemployed worker in need of a job. At times that meant pushing large numbers of people through the system without jobs waiting on the other end. The economic recession highlighted this issue as more people were unemployed, or under-employed, and entered the traditional employment development system but without jobs to graduate newly trained workers to, quite a bottleneck ensued.