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Chamber coalition to focus on regional issues

Schedule of chamber board meetings changed

Posted: September 16, 2011 4:16 p.m.
Updated: September 19, 2011 5:00 a.m.

A coalition of 19 chambers of commerce in the Midlands area -- including the Kershaw County Chamber of Commerce -- will work together on regional issues affecting business and commerce. Chamber First Vice President Chip Galloway reported on a recent meeting of the Midstate Chamber Coalition at the local chamber’s Thursday meeting.

Among the issues Galloway said the coalition discussed, were transportation, military, workforce education and business legislation reform.

“Under transportation, we have the Port of Charleston dredging and expansion…with ships coming in from the Pacific, Charleston needs to be able to accommodate larger ships. Charleston will have to dredge to keep ships from going to Norfolk, Savannah, New York if they decide to do the same thing,” Galloway said, adding that coalition members also discussed expanded air service in Columbia. “Along with that, we need a better rail system to be able to move products and we also need to look at the interstate system coming out of Charleston. When trying to recruit businesses for the Midlands, you have to be able to get the raw good and products here.”

Galloway said the group also discussed the importance of preparing a nuclear workforce and protecting Fort Jackson and Shaw Air Force Base.

“They say the average age of somebody working in a nuclear power plant is 55 years old. If you’ve got nuclear power and are going to use it in the future, and your population that are running the power plant is aging, you have to get the people from somewhere and that’s where the technical college can come in,” he said. “If we’re teaching people to farm corn, and we don’t farm corn around here, there’s no need to teach it. So we’re trying to instill some action in the industries that we have here, and that’s why the coalition is there -- to identify the needs.”

Galloway also said there is a lot of reform that needs to take place. Adding that there “all kinds of incentives” offered to bring businesses in, he said more needs to be done to grow the businesses that are already here.

“We’re going to work over the next few weeks on organizing and getting a board of directors together. It’s a great service and I believe that we can really move forward with it,” Galloway said.

In other news, chamber President Robbie Powers announced 2011-12 board committee assignments. The committees for the current year will include a membership, non-dues revenue, business and community improvement, tourism, finance and education committees, and will be chaired, respectively, by Chip Galloway, Sue Hornsby, John Thomas, Teri Teed, Dennis Stuber and Spencer Graham.

Additionally, all future chamber board meetings will be held on the third Thursday of each month, at 8:30 a.m.

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