This is an exciting time for our region, and the Bangor Region Chamber of Commerce will strive to create a still brighter future for us all through collaborative efforts with our business and community partners.
The Chamber, through its affiliates (like BRLI, Fusion, Building Bridges, the Wellness Council) and its initiatives (like the angel capital effort supported by Fritz Oldenburg and the Biz Action Committee), looks to connect and enhance the energy and assets of the region and foster, sustain and, yes, celebrate the excellence that surrounds us.
In doing so, we look to both ask and answer that very present question in our region: so what’s next? The Chamber looks to engage the excellence and energy in our region so that in a year we can celebrate a new round of achievements for a business community already on the move.
Last year began with a note of both vision and optimism from our board chair, M. Jane Irving of Bangor Savings Bank. Jane set right to work on building on the region’s and the Chamber’s strengths, and prior to her unexpected death in August, she accomplished much in short order. Indeed, we all recognized her passing as not only a tremendous loss for her family and friends, but as a loss for the community and the Chamber.
As chair elect, I have had the privilege of building on this good work. Our 2014-2016 strategic plan has been forged, reviewed by stakeholders and approved by the board. We are settling into our new headquarters. And we remain a well-run and financially sound advocate for the businesses in our region.
As we look ahead to 2014, we need to build and further connect this region’s assets.
We’ve got to support our innovative companies – small, medium and large – so they can grow our region. Our strengths lie with our world-class medical research and treatment facilities, the dynamic R&D at the University of Maine, and the entrepreneurs of our region, tackling frontiers ranging from DNA technology to a vision for concerts on our waterfront.
We’ve also got to fully realize the potential of our great schools and incredible colleges and universities, creating a work force for the 21st century.
And we have to build on our traditional strengths by becoming a still better destination for visitors and further harness our tremendous natural resources in a smart and sustainable way.
Our tool kit for getting this done includes four C’s: collaboration, confidence, connectivity, and a culture for success. We are small, but mighty when we work together. But to do so we must have confidence in ourselves and others. And, of course, we have to stay connected to our community and to the resources that will help us grow. Perhaps most importantly, we have to foster that culture of success by demonstrating a willingness to try, to fail sometimes, and to move forward having learned from the experiences.
I invite you to be a part of this endeavor. It is after all, through you, our members, that we will realize this brighter future. Together, we cannot help but succeed.