Kennebec Valley Chamber

Serving the Kennebec Valley, Maine Region

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Friday Report ~ January 16, 2015

Our Future.... So... it’s been 2 weeks and it has simply flown by. The staff and I are getting increasingly excited about the potential improvements we can make with the right effort and renewed energy.

I attended a panel discussion on Thursday, hosted by Mainebiz, regarding Maine’s economy in the coming years. The keynote speaker was from the Fed Reserve in Boston and the panel consisted of industry leaders from numerous industries. From auto sales to healthcare, architecture and manufacturing, including our own Wick Johnson of Kennebec Technologies.

The consensus of these professionals was that the economy is certainly taking an upturn. The key challenges however, remain finding qualified workers and retaining a younger population in our great state. The issues of rising healthcare and education costs are also of great concern.

I firmly believe that the best way to deal with these challenges is to ensure that we are growing our communities. By making our communities stronger, more cohesive and more attractive, and by effectively marketing our strengths, we will attract more families and greater business investment. I am not naïve enough to believe that the rising cost challenges are not real, but instead believe that through working together and growing our communities, we will find ways to overcome these issues.

Thoughts of this panel and these issues were still in the forefront of my mind as I attended a Cynergy steering committee meeting yesterday. This group of motivated young professionals is on the right track. I listened to their desire to grow their group and create a vibrant community of young professionals here in the Kennebec Valley and couldn’t help but be struck by the connection.

With that in mind, your chamber team will be working very hard to support this dedicated group of young professionals. We need to provide them with professional development opportunities and financing, not only to ensure that they stay engaged in our region, but also to create a welcoming environment for other young professionals when they consider relocating to our region. I ask for your support in this and I ask that you encourage your employees who are between the ages of 21-40 to get involved. Please contact the Chamber for more information on this great group. If Cynergy succeeds, we all win.