The Greater Springfield Chamber of Commerce Veterans Committee met Tuesday, Jan. 16 at Fair Winds Brewing Company to discuss opportunities and events for 2018. Thank you to Stan Koussis (community development manager for Andrews Federal Credit Union) and Nancy-jo Manney (Chamber president) for attending.
Prior to the meeting, we were joined by Casey Jones (USCG veteran and founder/owner of Fair Winds) who praised the Armed Services Arts Partnership for its Jan. 14 veterans comedy show, and offered his support for future events.
Here are some highlights of the committee meeting:
1. We have a great assortment of events in 2018 to keep us engaged with the veteran community specifically, and the Greater Springfield community as a whole:
• 13th annual Veterans in Business Conference – March 22
• veterans committee meeting – April 17
• wreath laying ceremony in honor of Memorial Day – May 25
• veterans committee meeting – July 17
• BridgeWalk (across Veterans Bridge) – Aug. 28
• veterans committee meeting – Oct. 16
• Veterans Small Business Week – Oct. 29 through Nov. 2
• Veterans Day – Nov. 11
• Business in the Brewery supporting Small Business Saturday – Nov. 24
• annual dinner (Veterans Community Service Award) – Dec. 13
• Wreaths Across America – Dec. 15
2. Each year, the veterans committee seeks opportunities to generate revenue in support of the Chamber. In 2017, we exceeded our goal of $500 via our quarterly Reveille Connect networking breakfasts. In 2018, we are considering hosting a veterans business roundtable series that provides veteran business owners a place to discuss the challenges and successes of their business while getting advice and counseling from experts on how to start/grow their business. There would be a one-time fee and participation would be limited. Your feedback and addition suggestions are greatly appreciated.
3. We love to promote our veteran (and military spouse) business owners. Our “Veteran in the Spotlight” feature from 2016 will return – but this time on video. We are seeking businesses willing to “shoot” a 30-second elevator pitch and contact information about their businesses. Now seeking brave souls to get in front of a camera (or iPhone) to promote their business.
4. We will be actively seeking nominations for our community service award again this year. The Chamber wants to recognize active duty military personnel, Guardsmen, Reservists and military spouses who go beyond making our communities safe but also improve the quality of life for our citizens. Award winners are recognized at the Chamber's annual dinner in December. The nomination form is available online.
Our next veterans committee meeting will be held Tuesday, April 17, 4:30pm at Fair Winds. See you there, if not sooner…
A veteran himself, Charles McCaffrey is the director of the Veterans Business Outreach Center at Community Business Partnership and chair of the Greater Springfield Chamber of Commerce Veterans Committee.