A Strong Voice for Southern Arizona
By Romi Carrell Wittman
Chambers of commerce are well known for their networking events and ribbon cuttings. But there are myriad ways the Tucson Metro Chamber advocates for, supports and amplifies the needs of businesses throughout the region. Four Chamber board members share their thoughts on the Chamber’s impact on business and our community.
Wendell Long, President & CEO ARCpoint Labs of Tucson
The Chamber gives businesses a voice they might not otherwise have – it amplifies their voices. The Chamber has influence where a small, individual business might not. My business is small and we’re the people the Chamber does a good job of looking out for.
Howard Stewart, President & CEO, AGM Container Controls
The Chamber offers business networking events where Chamber members have the opportunity to meet one another to discuss potential business opportunities. In addition, at the time of the Chamber’s annual State of the City event, the Chamber simultaneously runs its annual Chamber Expo, where Chamber members can exhibit their products.
The Chamber frequently makes recommendations to our membership, as well as to the public at large, about a particular initiative, based on the given initiative’s potential for helping or hurting the Tucson and/or regional business community. In addition, the Chamber maintains a legislative scorecard to help members understand how Southern Arizona lawmakers are voting on issues.
The biggest issue facing my business today is COVID-19. Our Chamber is providing great leadership on this issue by helping to convene some of our community’s local leaders on how our city should respond to this global threat on a local level. Likewise, I’m sure that our Chamber will be there when it comes to helping such leaders think through the ‘how’ and ‘when’ of safely reopening our city’s and state’s business community.
Robert W. Assenmacher, President, CAID Industries
The Chamber provides a united/common platform for communication on a variety of important small-business topics. It also provides tools that most businesses could not get affordable access to otherwise. The Chamber also advocates for the business community to all levels of government. The Chamber needs to continue to lobby government for pro-business policies to increase investments in the areas of mining, processing plants, energy plants, cement plants, manufacturing plants, etc.
Carol Stewart, Associate VP, Tech Parks Arizona
The Chamber has its finger on the pulse of business through a board that represents diverse business perspectives. As leaders who support innovation and work with companies ranging from tech giants to small startups, we each bring a unique attribute.
I like that I can bring my international real-world perspective to a community that is passionate about business and innovation. I was part of an exciting tech innovation boom in Waterloo, Ontario, Canada, and get to bring the best practice learned here.
Joe Salkowski, Director, Communications and Public Affairs, Tucson Electric Power and Unisource Energy Services
The Chamber engages with government representatives at the federal, state and local levels to advocate for policies that support the success of local businesses.
For Tucson Electric Power, participating in the Chamber helps us build and maintain strong connections to our local business community. This helps us identify opportunities to improve our service to business customers because any issues that affect one small business are likely impacting others. For example, we’re now providing more information on our website about our electric service requirements, including a series of ”Partners in Success” videos that illustrate our safety and engineering standards.