From The Chair’s Corner: A Legacy of Leadership

A Legacy of Leadership

I am both honored and excited to enter into my term as Chair of The Greater Sarasota Chamber of Commerce. For me, this is a legacy moment in many respects. I look forward to following in not only the legacy of leadership that the Chamber has demonstrated through its many years in Sarasota, but also the legacy of leadership that my firm, Williams Parker Harrison Dietz & Getzen, has demonstrated over our more than 90 years in Sarasota. It is with great pride that I follow in the footsteps of a name partner in my firm, George A. Dietz, a past Chair of the Chamber, to carry on the rich history of the Chamber in a community with an equally rich history.

 

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Chair| Charlie Bailey | Williams Parker Harrison Dietz & Getzen

 

As we look toward the year ahead, we do so with a focus on strengthening our connections – both within the community and with our membership. Your story is our story – the story of the Chamber is the story of its members. As an organization, ensuring robust layers of connection amongst our membership and bringing their businesses’ stories to life is our greatest priority. It is with that understanding that we enter this year with a tireless commitment to engage members both new and long-standing. We are setting our sights on being the voice of business in the community and focusing on the headline issues facing Sarasota. As an example, in partnership with Gulf Coast Community Foundation and SRQ Media, we are hosting Grid Un-Locked, a six-week program series featuring expert-led workshops which explore the facts, plans, and future of transportation in Sarasota.

We also are pleased to officially welcome Visit Sarasota County as they relocate Sarasota County’s Official Visitor Center to the Chamber of Commerce building on Fruitville Road. We are confident that this partnership will benefit both organizations, our community, and visitors to our beloved area.

We are proud to be an organization for those who are as focused on doing business as they are on where they do business. Your Chamber is here to support, promote, and connect its membership and the greater Sarasota area. We want your experience to be professionally and personally rewarding. As Chair, I can certainly say my experience has been nothing less, and I am committed to making sure yours is as well. I encourage you to stay connected with me throughout this year and I look forward to continuing to write the story of business in our community.

Charlie Bailey

Chair of the Board

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From the Chair’s Corner: Small Business is Big Business

The Greater Sarasota Chamber of Commerce is committed to the support of business in

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Chair | George McGonagill | Questar Construction

the greater Sarasota region. As is common in most communities, your Chamber is certainly reflective of the community that invests in it. For Sarasota, that means that your Chamber is comprised mainly of businesses that carry less than 75 full-time employees. In fact, 80% of your membership is made up of those businesses.

Having worked for one of the largest employers in the region, Sarasota County Schools, and now as an entrepreneur with a small business, Questar Construction, I can say with certainty that the Chamber strongly supports the full spectrum of business sizes here in our area. However, it is the small business that drives so much of the economic engine in Sarasota and within your Chamber. It may come as a surprise to many that more than 60% of businesses in the United States have less than five employees. Furthermore, over 30% of workers in the United States are employed by businesses with less than 100 employees.

To be certain, regardless of size, business isn’t an easy endeavor. However, it is the small-business start-up that perhaps best embodies the spirit of entrepreneurialism. Roughly half of all small businesses will close within their first four years. That alone may speak to the importance of community support for small business. Those making the trek forward are our friends, family, and neighbors. It is critical for all layers of the community to support their efforts in hopes that our half is the half that succeeds, that our community be the place where small business beats the average. That’s not just something that would be nice, it is something we should strive for.

The Chamber is focused on promoting, supporting, and connecting the small businesses in our region. We are proud to include our annual Small Business Awards as a bridge across the entire spectrum of activities within those areas of focus. As we look to celebrating excellence in the small business community, I am always reminded of the fact that small business is big business in Sarasota. While your Chamber takes the opportunity to award small business excellence one day each year, it provides support for those businesses non-stop, all year long.

George McGonagill

Chair of The Greater Sarasota Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors

President of Questar Construction, Inc.


The 2017 Frank G. Berlin, Sr. Small Business Awards will take place on Friday, June 2 at the Hyatt Regency Sarasota. The event is presented by The Herald-Tribune Media Group.

Save Your Seat for Small Business Awards!