Incoming chamber chairman of the board Debra Jones of Regions Banks thanks outgoing chairman David Puckett of GTE Financial or his service over the past year.
LARGO – Debra Jones, chairman-elect of the Central Pinellas Chamber of Commerce, said Sept. 13 “growing membership” is a top priority for the chamber to promote businesses
“Yes, we had a rough year,” she said, at the chamber’s annual banquet at the Sheraton Sand Key Resort. “It’s happening everywhere. Companies are cutting back. It’s understandable, but things are moving in the right direction. We are seeing it in the area.”
The chamber has 391 members.
“And our goal obviously is to grow that number. Let’s take it a day at a time, get above that 400 mark and and get back in the game,” said Jones of Regions Bank.
She told chamber members it’s “our mutual goal to see our chamber prosper and grow. My commitment as your chairman is to working closely with our directors and our executive committee to continue shaping our vision for the region.”
She said she was excited to have a “great group of people coming in because they are very engaged.”
Along those lines, she gave an explanation.
“Twenty nine percent of people are engaged,” she said. “Are they the people that walk by the gum wrapper that fell on the floor, or are they engaged and they’re the ones who pick up the gum wrappers on the floor, or they totally disengaged and they’re the ones who probably put the gum wrapper there.”
She said she would like to reach out to all chamber members and hoped that they would call or email her if they have something to say.
She said she feels fortunate to follow “a chairman (David Puckett) who’s lent his support. He’s done a great job and kept this chamber moving forward.”
Puckett, GTE Financial, has been actively involved in the chamber since 1992, serving on many committees, Jones said.
Discussing the year in review, Puckett said through a partnership with the city of Largo, the chamber identified opportunities to make business friendly principles become “business friendly for real.”
Among the issues the chamber is addressing is the city’s sign ordinance, which requires business to replace their pole signs with monument signs by June 2017.
“We still have a lot of property owners who are avoiding the inevitable,” Puckett said. “They are going to say they didn’t know. The chamber is going to be a force in getting out there, and saying ‘this is not going to go way.’”