The Rockport-Fulton Chamber of Commerce board of directors met for its monthly April meeting, the highlights of that meeting are:
• Harvey/Sandy Panel Webinar - The American Planners Association will be holding a Continuing Education Webinar April 26 featuring panelists from Hurricane Harvey and Hurricane Sandy. The information presented will be helpful to planners across the nation as they study and prepare for disaster and recovery.
• Long Term Recovery Executive Work Group - The Long Term Recovery Team, department heads, and chamber continue to meet every other week at the Rockport Service Center for one hour for project updates.
• Promotion/Tourism - The chamber staff and members of the Tourism Development Council (TDC) continue to work hard to revitalize tourism. New ads are being designed. Conference calls are being held weekly with media buyers and public relations coordinator. The goal is to inform the San Antonio market our community is ready for tourists. The secondary campaign is focusing on the Corpus Christi 50-mile radius market to entice visitors to visit and support our community. Another exciting venture is evolving as a tour company from Corpus Christi is interested in doing a Rockport-Fulton History and Recovery Tour using a 15-passenger van. As tourism revitalization is being worked for the short term, the TDC is working on a five-year Strategic Plan and Survey. An April 25 workshop will be held where goals and tactical measures to achieve those goals will be generated and put in a plan. That information will be presented to the TDC at the end of the month. The chamber staff continues to meet monthly with local attractions to collaborate and build camaraderie. The Charmer volunteers continue to receive training for the Visitor Center reception area. The Hospitality Training program, through a grant from Tourism Cares, continues to provide free classes to those interested. Sandy Jumper and I traveled to Houston for the Texas Tourism Industry Association’s (TTIA) Best City Award. The Tuesday, May 14 chamber luncheon will be held at the airport in the Community Hangar. It will be a Vacation Celebration featuring an Airport Open House, TTIA’s Dan Decker and the King of Hospitality Davis Phillips will be here to make presentations. Everyone will be given permission to dress in vacation attire. The annual Spring Fling Outdoor Media Event is April 28-29 and will be used to gain a considerable amount of editorial coverage about where we stand in our recovery effort. We will resurrect the VolunTOURism Campaign again for the summer, as many tourists would like to come support and help in our recovery. Three more hotels are working fast and furious to open by the summer. This will put us at 73 percent open. North Star Insurance Construction Company has approved the rebuilding of the Aquarium at Rockport Harbor.
• Leadership Aransas County - The class project event “For the Love of the Outdoors” was a tremendous task for the class, but they did an outstanding job for not even knowing each other prior to last October. They are anxiously awaiting their net figure. Their graduation is June 13. Youth Leadership Graduation is Tuesday, April 23 at Latitudes Restaurant. The LAC Candidates & Issues Panel Forum is Wednesday, April 24 from 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. The alumni group is coordinating LAC Attack Kayak Fishing Tournament set for June 1.
• Advocacy/Public Policy - The Governmental Affairs Team continues to meet monthly reviewing legislation impacting our area on the local, state and national level. The latest approved for April was a resolution supporting Oyster Harvesting. This was a bill put forth by State Rep. Todd Hunter to create a plentiful oyster harvest at affordable prices for local restaurants.
• Networking - Networking opportunities were abundant for April as the Rockport-Fulton Night at the Hooks game was attended by more than 500 people from the Rockport-Fulton area. Each Wednesday a Network Wednesday event at the Chamber continues to amaze us as to how many people are attending and enjoying what they do. On April 25, the Business Expo Casino Night will be a great opportunity for shaking hands and getting to know other business owners.
• Economic Development - Long Term Recovery Advisor Kim Foutz is making the rounds to the entities explaining how the Local Government Corporation and the Economic Development Corporation will work. The chamber board, with a unanimous vote, approved going forward recommending the formation of an Economic Development Corporation and a Local Government Corporation. A weblink has been made available for workforce housing. The Long Term Recovery Team is working on the Workforce situation. The Corpus Christi Regional Economic Development Senior Investors Group continues to meet monthly listening to trends and activity reports regarding industry trends, etc. I attend each of these meetings giving an update report about our recovery. I am in the process of developing materials to show the projects currently underway or in the works. Working with potential Career and Tech Center site for development in the future.
• Rockport-Fulton Chamber Foundation - New March report of homes being built loaded on the website. One $1,000 scholarship was awarded to Kellie Robinson.
• Membership – Working really hard on renewal memberships. Membership Levels Sponsorship Program is coming along. We finish that up May 1. Our goal is 15-17 sponsors for a total of $50K. We are putting together the Membership Event set for Aug. 14. The goal is to bring in 100 new members. There will be seven teams with seven people on each team. It will be from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Robert Mitchell has agreed to emcee the presentation. Our intent is to do a clean sweep of the community of those who may be interested in joining the chamber that may had dropped out for various reasons due to the storm, and then to grab any new businesses in town. The Bay Blazers continue to do a great job with ribbon cuttings and grand openings. We are promoting the M2M Discount Cards and the Member Discount News Feed.
• Small Business Council - Business Builders - Working on M2M Discount Cards, an inner Council to help businesses on the outskirts of our community. Will keep everyone posted on outcome of a general meeting. The Business Builders will be getting red shirts. The next event is the Hurricane Breakfast set for Wednesday, June 5 at the Rockport Service Center. They are working on an outstanding program for that breakfast and anticipate 150 in attendance.
• Annual Banquet/Awards - Forms were distributed in regards to Nominations for Citizen of the Year, Chamber Member of the Year and Non-Profit Member of the Year. Those nominations will be due May 22 at the chamber. The Annual Banquet will be held Thursday, June 6 at the La Palma Event Center. The Nominating Committee gave a report about the five new directors coming on the board. Those directors are Shana Brader (Sunkissed Graphics), Robert Scott (Individual), Taylor Place (Lawn Guys), Ramona LeBlanc (The Boiling Pot), and Chad Lee (Lee Construction).
The chamber brings together community leaders and decision makers to focus on what really matters: the economy, workforce, leadership, education, quality of life and entrepreneurship. It provides opportunities to connect with other business leaders, enhance skills and engage with the community. The mission of the Chamber is to work in partnership with businesses, individuals and governmental entities to promote commerce and tourism while maintaining the environment.
The Chamber and Visitor Center is located across from Rockport Harbor. Please stop in for a visit.