Leadership Trip to New Orleans Inspires Innovation

NEW ORLEANS, La. - A group of 30 local business leaders joined the Eastern Shore Chamber of Commerce on a Leaders Exchange to New Orleans, Louisiana, October 22-24 to share ideas and identify ways our local partnerships can work together to help the Eastern Shore prosper. The group was made up of Chamber board members, Leaders Council members, elected officials and committee chairmen.

The delegation first heard from Wiley Blankenship from the Coastal Alabama Partnership who talked about how organizations like the Eastern Shore Chamber are joining forces with other groups across Mobile and Baldwin Counties to push initiatives that will benefit Coastal Alabama. The group then heard from a similar organization in Louisiana, Greater New Orleans Inc. They’re also leveraging their partners to bolster economic development in the region. Other speakers included the New Orleans Chamber of Commerce, New Orleans Convention and Visitor’s Bureau and the New Orleans Small Business Alliance.

"Learning more about my fellow business leaders and exploring successful case studies and innovative ideas in New Orleans has been invaluable,” said Mary Mullins Redditt of MPACT Public Affairs Consulting.

The second day of the Leaders Exchange gave the group an opportunity to learn about Junior Achievement of Greater New Orleans and tour their BizTown, a mock city that gives 5th grade students a hands-on opportunity to learn life skills. Students start the day by taking out a business loan to run restaurants, banks, stores and non-profits. They create a business model and spend the day working to earn enough money to pay off their loan. Students learn how to write checks and pay bills. The Eastern Shore Chamber group got a chance to interact with these students as they vied for their business. This BizTown encouraged the Eastern Shore delegation to think outside the box when it comes to how we foster the Eastern Shore’s upcoming workforce.

"The similar challenges between the two regions are real. The investment in our youth is the ultimate goal, providing alternate routes for success is a common theme,” said Nathan Dunn with Fulcrum Construction.

While the delegation used the better part of each day to learn what initiatives were working and what wasn’t in New Orleans, they also had numerous opportunities to network with each other, building stronger working relationships and partnerships. Each participant was encouraged to spend time during each meal getting to know someone new, as they enjoyed delicious food at Criollo, Ralph’s on the Park, Galatoire’s & a cocktail party at Board Member Jennie Campbell's home.

"This was my first leadership trip and it truly was amazing. We have amazing leaders in our area and this really allowed us to get together to learn, grow and enjoy fellowship,” said Diane Anderson from Hartmann, Blackmon & Kilgore.

The Eastern Shore Chamber of Commerce would like to thank Jennie Campbell for her help connecting the delegation with organizations and speakers in New Orleans. Chamber staff and member leaders will now take what they’ve learned back to the Eastern Shore to collaborate on ideas to move the community forward.


The Eastern Shore Chamber of Commerce Parts Ways with the Fairhope Arts & Crafts Festival Foundation

The 2018 Fairhope Arts and Crafts Festival will be produced by the Fairhope Arts and Crafts Festival Foundation, and the Eastern Shore Chamber of Commerce will not be involved.

The Chamber worked in collaboration with the newly founded Arts and Crafts Festival Foundation to produce the 2017 festival, and after a successful show the two organizations have decided to part ways.

Since 1953, the Eastern Shore Chamber of Commerce has produced the annual festival with the goal of attracting visitors to come and experience the Eastern Shore. The festival has grown tremendously since those early days and will continue to attract artists and patrons from around the country.

Over the years, the Eastern Shore Chamber of Commerce has used funds generated from the Fairhope Arts and Crafts Festival to support Chamber initiatives including:

- Supporting the Chamber Foundation’s two workforce development programs Youth Leadership and the Student Training and Exploration Program

- Advancing tourism as an economic driver

- Providing promotional support, networking opportunities and educational workshops for local businesses

- Maintaining a business-friendly environment by providing face to face opportunities to connect with local leaders

"Despite the new fiscal challenge ahead, the Eastern Shore Chamber of Commerce will not waiver on our mission to make the Eastern Shore the best place to live, work and cultivate business,” said Chamber President Casey Williams, "We will continue to work each day to find new ways to support our member businesses and meet their needs.”

The Fairhope Arts and Crafts Festival plays an important role for the City of Fairhope, the Eastern Shore and Coastal Alabama. "We are confident that the festival will continue to be successful,” said Williams, "The Eastern Shore Chamber of Commerce will always support the Fairhope Arts and Crafts Festival, just as the Chamber supports all our local events that benefit the community.”


Eastern Shore Chamber Teams Up with North Baldwin Chamber for Workforce Reception

BAY MINETTE, Ala. (August 24, 2017) - The Eastern Shore Chamber of Commerce teamed up with the North Baldwin Chamber of Commerce to host a joint Workforce Reception at the North Baldwin Center for Technology which serves Spanish Fort and Daphne High Schools.

The Workforce Reception was a great opportunity to showcase the programs being offered to our local high school students. It also gave our business leaders a chance to tour the facility and get a first hand look at the programs at North Baldwin Center for Technology.

Eastern Shore Chamber Presidents Casey Williams and North Baldwin Chamber Executive Director Ashley Jones Davis addressed the crowd of more than 100 guests, along with Baldwin County Public School Superintendent Eddie Tyler, SFC Todd Jarrell with the Alabama National Guard, and Patty Hughston and Dr. Gary Branch with Coastal Alabama Community College. Each spoke about the importance of technical education and how they're each working to bridge the gap between the business community and our educational institutions.  

We hope that our community and business leaders walked away with a better understanding of the programs offered and how they have an impact on their businesses. We hope to also keep communication open between the business community and school system to ensure that workforce needs are being met.

Thank you to the North Baldwin Center for Technology for being such a welcome host and to the Alabama National Guard for partnering with the local chambers to make the event possible.

Eastern Shore Chamber of Commerce Honored as an Accredited Alabama Chamber of Commerce

MONTGOMERY, AL – The Eastern Shore Chamber of Commerce was among 4 Chambers to receive the Accredited Alabama Chamber of Commerce distinction from the Chamber of Commerce Association of Alabama.

Those receiving the AACC were: Eastern Shore Chamber of Commerce, Dothan Area Chamber of Commerce, Greenville Area Chamber of Commerce and  The Chamber of Gadsden & Etowah County.

The announcement was made at the CCAA’s summer convention in Point Clear.

One of the most prestigious programs of the Chamber of Commerce Association of Alabama is the AccreditedAlabama Chamber program. The Accredited Alabama Chamber of Commerce program sets standards of excellence for chambers in the State of Alabama. It recognizes chambers that have achieved those standards while offering guidelines for those to improve their effectiveness.

The Accredited Alabama Chamber of Commerce program is designed to promote public awareness of the intent of the chamber of commerce brand as a not-for-profit community development- based business membership organization by providing a peer review process of generally accepted chamber of commerce organizational benchmarks.

The Accredited Alabama Chamber of Commerce program looks at six standard topics: Organization, Mission Focus, Professional Administration, Financial Management, Communications, and, Advocacy.

 "As one of CCAA’s most prestigious programs, the Accredited Alabama Chamber of Commerce program shows that each chamber receiving the distinction is committed to the highest standards of organization management.  This distinction recognizes local chambers of commerce in Alabama that strengthen free enterprise by protecting their local business environment,” said Bill Sisson, President & CEO  of the Mobile Area Chamber of Commerce and the CCAA’s 2017 Chairman of the Board of Directors. "They most certainly represent the highest standards in our profession.”

Jeremy L. Arthur, President and CEO of the CCAA, said the seven local chambers of commerce are a true testament to the chamber profession.

"The accreditation process is very rigorous and highlights that each chamber is truly the ‘best of the best’ across our state,” Arthur said. "The commitment shown by each local chamber that receives the Accredited Alabama Chamber of Commerce distinction shows their continued commitment to the highest professional standards and assures their business members they are investing in an organization working on their behalf for the greater good.”

Since its beginning in 1937 as the Alabama Association of Commercial Organizations, what is now known as the Chamber of Commerce Association of Alabama has remained dedicated to advancing the goal that chambers of commerce are the premier local business advocate in the State of Alabama. In conjunction with the Business Council of Alabama (BCA), a non-partisan organization, the two groups, through the BCA/CCAA Partnership represent the interests and concerns of over 1 million working Alabamians every day.

Eastern Shore Chamber of Commerce Announces 2017/2018 Board of Directors

FAIRHOPE, Ala. – The Eastern Shore Chamber of Commerce is proud to announce the members and officers of the 2017/2018 Board of Directors. The slate was approved Thursday, June 8 during the 93rdAnnual Meeting. The Chamber is excited about the direction it is headed and these business leaders will be integral in leading the Chamber as it grows. The 2017/2018 Board of Directors will officially begin their term on July 1, 2017.

Ed HammeleThe Eastern Shore Chamber is also proud to announce Ed Hammele will be serving as Chairman of the Board. Hammele has worked in the banking industry for the past 29 years since graduating from John Carroll University in 1988.  Ed is currently the Regional President for Capstone Bank in Fairhope.  Ed relocated to Baldwin County 13 years ago from Cleveland, Ohio.

Ed Hammele started volunteering with the Chamber in 2005.  He has served on the Workforce Development Committee, Governmental Affairs Committee and was the Chair of the Chamber’s Total Resource Campaign in 2014 and 2015.  Ed has been on the Board for the Chamber for the past four years. 

Ed Hammele also serves as the President of the Board for the Fairhope Point Clear Rotary Youth Club, he is the President of the Fairhope Sunset Rotary Club and is also the President of the Island Tower Condo Owners’ Association.  Ed is on the board for the Baldwin County United Way and is the Treasurer for the Fairhope Soccer League.  Ed is a past board member of the Baldwin County Economic Development Association, Thomas Hospital Foundation and a past Chair of the Baldwin County Heart Walk.

Ed Hammele lives in Fairhope with his wife of 23 years, Dana, who is a Chamber member and a Realtor with Re/Max By The Bay.  Ed and Dana have 3 children, Jack, age 19 and their twins Paige and Bobby are 17.  

Executive Board

  • Chairman - Ed Hammele, Capstone Bank
  • Chairman-elect - Ormand Thompson, Thomas Hospital-Infirmary Health
  • Past Chairman - Richard Johnson, Phelps Dunbar
  • Treasurer - Greg Strachan, Bryant Bank
  • Vice-Chairman Member Value - Marcus Neto, Blue Fish Design
  • Vice-Chairman Tourism - Chuck Cuff
  • Vice-Chairman Workforce Development - Steve Carey, CertaPro Painters
  • Vice-Chairman Governmental Affairs - Eric Nager, Southern Capital Services


Returning Board Members

  • Andru Bramblett, Southern Light, LLC
  • Jennie Campbell, Stewart Lodges at Steelwood
  • Phil Cusa, AltaPointe Health Systems
  • Diane Douglas, In the Company of Angels 
  • Abe Harper, Harper Technologies, LLC
  • Joe Hocklander
  • Patty Hughston, Coastal Alabama Community College
  • Boyd Little, Oak Hollow Farm, Inc.
  • Paige Moore, Re/Max By The Bay
  • Scott Tripoli, Grand Hotel Marriott Resort
  • Judith Wright, Segers Aero Corporation


New Board Members

  • Steve Ascik, Eastern Shore Ace Hardware
  • Nathan Dunn, Fulcrum Construction
  • CJ Ezell, PointClear Networks
  • Kelly Jones, WAVH FM Talk 106.5
  • Marina Simpson, United Way of Baldwin County


Join us in recognizing our outgoing board members:

  • Deanna Auner, Homestead Village of Fairhope
  • Gray Englebert, Jubilee Specialties
  • Don Mecke, Browning, Mecke and O'Neal
  • William Stitt, Old 27 Grill
  • Contina Woods, Regions Bank


Eastern Shore Chamber Honors Outstanding Service with Annual Awards

FAIRHOPE, Ala. – The Eastern Shore Chamber of Commerce is proud to announce the winners of the 2017 Chamber Awards. The winners were announced Thursday night at the 93rdAnnual Awards Dinner held at Oak Hollow Farm. Each of these award winners have dedicated countless hours to serving the Eastern Shore Community and leading by example.

Ambassador of the Year: Sara Alter, The Brennity at Fairhope

Sara Alter goes above and beyond in every facet of Chamber involvement.  She is not only present at Business After Hours and Morning Marketing meetings, but she volunteers on various committees within the Chamber.  There isn’t a ribbon cutting she doesn’t attend and she always spreads the Chamber’s message of promoting business while connecting communities.  She truly makes everyone she meets feel welcome and engages them at Chamber events.  That is why she is deserving of winning Ambassador of the year two years in a row.

Young Professional of the Year: Chris Alman, Brown Financial Group

Chris Alman graduated from the University of Alabama with a degree in finance and is currently working at Brown Financial Advisory in Fairhope. He is actively involved in our community. He is a member of the Daphne-Spanish Fort Kiwanis Club where he serves as the head of Reading is Fundamental, an early childhood reading program. He currently serves on the board for the Anchor Cross Cancer Foundation and is a part of their ongoing efforts to assist patients with cancer. He recently participated in the 74 Club’s Over the Edge Event where participants raised money by rappelling down 20 stories of the Mobile Marriott. He is currently on the committees for Young Professionals and Pencils and Glue for Bingo & Brews. He works with his church small group to serve local families and share the love of Christ.

Service Award: Sherry Sullivan, Point Broadband LLC

Sherry Sullivan completely embodies the adage "servants heart.” She not only puts others’ needs above her own, but she serves with the right motivation.  Her guidance in handling any problem big or small is unmatched.  She will jump in and help in any way she can.  You can find her volunteering in various capacities with all Chamber committees or attending ribbon cuttings all over the Eastern Shore.  Volunteer, mentor, ambassador… these titles fall short to how she truly serves this community.  She is a servant leader.  Her small acts of selflessness have huge impacts on the people around her.  The active roles this person takes with so many of our community initiatives makes impactful influences on those organizations. 

Environmental Award: Daphne Utilities

Daphne Utilities addresses the needs of the community with energy and water efficiency in mind.  They recently teamed with Hutchinson, Moore and Rauch to design one of the most innovative water production treatment facilities in the southeast.  Upon completion, the project replaced failing infrastructure while preserving the historic character of an entire neighborhood.  This fundamental project not only improved the environment we live in, but the visual environment we cognitively encounter every day.

Other initiatives include the "Cease the Grease” campaign and making their vehicles more environmentally responsible.  This well-known project started 10 years ago.  Citizens can pick up an empty jug from dozens of recycling containers around the city to use for proper disposal of cooking oil and grease.  This used oil is then converted to clean-burning bio diesel fuel. 

They create a positive sphere of influence through educating the community.  Everyone can make our community more sustainable.  Daphne Utilities is truly an environmental organization first and foremost.  The Eastern Shore Chamber of Commerce Foundation has been directly impacted by the Education initiatives of Daphne Utilities.

Community Leader Award: Tracey Goens, Keller Williams Alabama Gulf Coast

Tracey Goens is involved in many areas of the community, her business and the Chamber.  She founded a victim-support group in 2012, she is involved with fundraisers for children in need and is on the board of the Baldwin County Child Advocacy Center.  She gives where she lives and is willing to help anyone in need.  She is a mentor to her team, helping them build confidence and achieve customer satisfaction.  In creating an atmosphere of service, she has created lifelong relationships with past clients.  Her service initiatives also include volunteering with Habitat for Humanity, participating with Red Day at Keller Williams and helping with the Light House.  She believes in the Chamber and the opportunities it affords.  Growing the Chamber through referrals and supporting committees is one of the many ways she is committed to involvement.

Small Business of the Year: The Fairhope Store

The Fairhope Store displays strong financial performance, achievement in management, workplace excellence, product innovation, and community responsibility. With their core value being community, this business cultivates a culture of kindness without expecting anything in return. In just five years they have shared a mutual embrace with the community, schools and special needs that come their way.  They have taken a staff of three to a team of 14 and upon expanding to a new location in 2015, sales increased by 60% in a matter of months.  Their support of local schools began as donations of art supplies and uniforms to those in need and has grown a local t-shirt design with proceeds directly benefitting Fairhope area schools.  Not only is their familiar design recognizable anywhere, but so is their love of giving back to the community they call home.


The Eastern Shore Chamber of Commerce would like to thank the sponsors who made the 2017 Annual Awards Dinner possible: Coastal Alabama Community College, Dale Carnegie Training, Baldwin EMC, 17 Turtles Outfitters, Coastal Bank & Trust, Marriott Grand Hotel, Hargrove Engineers, Baldwin County Sewer Service, Oak Hollow Farm, Phelps Dunbar and Safe Harbor Financial

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