Politics from the Palouse to Puget Sound

Monday, December 03, 2007

Faith and Fireworks and the Moscow Chamber

From Moscow Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Darrell Keim

Originally posted on Vision 2020 under "Faith and Fireworks and the Moscow Chamber."

I'd like those interested to know how the Chambers bylaws indicate it is to be run, what it does, and how it serves our community.

This could be a somewhat lengthy note.

Let me state up front that employment at our Chamber is open to all qualified applicants; and our many volunteer positions are open to all Chamber members.

Please note that I don't care to address past history. I wasn't responsible for it, nor do I claim to know enough to speak knowledgably about it. I also feel it has minimal bearing on how the Moscow Chamber will be run now and in the future. Please grant me that much of a tabula rasa. Also note that I am relatively new to the Chamber, but not to our community.

Our Chamber is run by a 16 person Board of Directors. This volunteer committee consists of business owners and leaders from throughout the community. They are nominated and elected to three year terms by their fellow Chamber members (of which there are over 400). Any Chamber member is eligible for nomination, all members are asked to vote. These elections are held yearly.

This working committee is tasked with overseeing what events our Chamber does, and which directions it pursues. Basically, they work to help us live up to our mission of leading "the business and economic community and support the free enterprise system while preserving and enhancing the quality of life." The Chamber Executive Director both reports to this committee, and receives support from it. In a very real sense this committee is the Directors boss.

This committee oversees a variety of subcommittees, which I will attempt to summarize below. I believe that you will see much of what our Chamber does and how it serves Moscow by looking over this list. These sub-committees are where the rubber meets the road for our Chamber.


Government Affairs-The Chambers watchdog for upcoming national, state and local legislation effecting member businesses. This committee compiles a
yearly list of legislative priorities, and attempts to work toward changes that will benefit Moscow businesses. This committee is also in charge of the Chambers Candidates Forum, and Legislative Tour to Boise. Gov't Affairs
is tasked with attending Moscow City Council meetings.

Education/Workforce Development-This committee has a two fold mission. 1. It works with the Moscow School District to encourage them to provide course
work and opportunities that will help students become stronger members of our workforce. Go to www.latahworks.org for an example of something the
district has been developing in conjunction with our Chamber. NOTE: This is a very preliminary version. 2. Via monthly Chamber business luncheons we provide different topics of benefit to our member businesses.
They are the 3rd Wednesday of each month, unless otherwise indicated. Anyone interested is invited to attend. They are usually held at the Best Western University Inn. Bring enough money to buy your own lunch, and please RSVP.

12/19-Presentation of City Development Impact Proposal by Gary Riedner, City of Moscow
1/16-Sexual Harassment Prevention by Elissa Keim, Raul Sanchez and YoshioSmith, WSU Center for Human Rights
2/20-State of the City by Mayor Chaney
3/19-Agribusiness Forum
4/16-How the Palouse Aquifer Issues Effect Local Business by Steve Robischone, Director of Palouse Basin Aquifer Committee
5/21-Womens Business Forum-Chaired by Holly Chetwood, Paradise Ford. Other panelists include Susan Fagan, SEL; Shelley L Bennett, Team Idaho Real Estate; Nancy Chaney, Mayor of Moscow.
6/18-Connecting Businesses W/UI Interns-Suzi Billington, UI
7/16-Best Hiring Practices and Growing Staff From Within, Gerard Connelly,Tri-State

Community Development-This is our economic development arm and actively participates in efforts toward improving or expanding our community's economic base. It is an active participant in Moscow revitalization efforts and plays a leading role in advocating for improvement of the physical appearance of our community, planning and zoning efforts, and growth-related issues such as groundwater management, and transportation planning. This sub-committee is tasked with attending applicable City of Moscow Community Development meetings.

Ambassadors/Public Relations-As the public outreach arm of the organization, this committee – through its active and visible Ambassadors – provides support and outreach to the business community through appearances at events, parades, open houses, groundbreakings, grand openings, VIP functions, and the ever-popular Business After Hours functions. The committee helps serve as the organizations "Red Carpet Brigade" for our community.

We also have membership and finance committees, but I think those are self explanatory. Other ad hoc committees may be created as deemed appropriate.

In addition to these committees, we also maintain a small staff that answers countless questions about Moscow from visitors, sends out relocation packages, helps at events, writes grants for local efforts, supports our volunteer board and much more.

Long story short, our Chamber works for the betterment of Moscow business and quality of life. We believe they are inextricably linked. We are open to all, and governed by a diverse group of Moscow business leaders. We're not perfect, but we are constantly striving to improve. I'd say we are a pretty accurate reflection of Moscow in that sense.

I hope this note has provided you with an understanding of what our Chamber is, and services it attempts to provide.


Darrell Keim
Executive Director
Moscow Chamber of Commerce

*Please note that since I am new some of these Sub-committees duties are new, thus still being put into place. For new committees I am doing my best to recruit diverse committee members that will represent all aspects of the Moscow business community.

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