Lake Norman e-Brief for July 19

Thursday Luncheon to focus on 2012 Democratic National Convention

Charlotte Mayor Anthony Foxx will discuss the 2012 Democratic National Convention at a luncheon to be held, Thursday, July 21, at 11:45 at NorthStone Country Club in Huntersville.  Mayor Foxx will address how business and our local region will benefit from the event, aid in our economic development and stimulate commerce, and position Charlotte as a destination for travel and tourism.  The announcements are already impacting conference and convention bookings by the CRVA.  Register for the PowerLuncheon here or call the Chamber at 704-892-1922.  The luncheon is sponsored by Peoples Bank.

Focus Friday to examine Victim’s Advocate Friday, July 22 8 am

Join us Friday, July 22nd  at 8:00 to 9:30 a.m. at the Lake Norman Chamber as we examine the Victim’s Advocate position which will assist victims in rape, domestic violence and abuse cases . Kathryn Firmin-Sellers, the United Family Services Region Director for Mooresville and Lake Norman, will present the topic along with  Huntersville Commissioner Danae Caulfield and Cornelius Commissioner Lynette Rinker who are both advocates for the new position.

The Focus Friday is open to all members and is designed to show multiple views on a regional issue.  Participation by those who attend is encouraged.  Focus Friday is sponsored by DavidsonNews.net / CorneliusNews.net.

 – Note – There will be no meeting of the Public Policy Committee this week. –

Congresswoman Sue Myrick to host Job Fair

On Tuesday, August 2nd, US Representative Sue Myrick will be holding a job fair from 8:30 am-1 pm at the Harris Conference Center 3216 CPCC West Campus Dr. Charlotte in Charlotte. Rep. Myrick’s staff informs us they are able to accommodate 40 local businesses on a first-come, first-serve basis. They expect to have 200-300 job seekers in attendance. If interested in participating, please contact Heather Whillier at 704-362-1060 or by email at heather.whillier@mail.house.gov.   

Leadership Lake Norman Now Accepting Applications

The Chamber is accepting applications for the 2011-2012 session of Leadership Lake Norman.   Leadership Lake Norman is a program to develop a group of informed, committed, and qualified individuals capable of providing visionary and progressive leadership for the Lake Norman region.  The tuition for the nine-month course is $425 for Chamber members and $500 for non-members.  Applications should be received by August 19, 2011 to be eligible for the program.  All applicants will be notified in writing regarding acceptance in the program by August 26, 2011.  To download the on-line brochure visit Leadership Lake Norman.

Junior Leadership Created for High School Students – Business Sponsors Sought

Alumni Graduates from Leadership Lake Norman have created a Junior Leadership program for High School Juniors for the upcoming year.  Applications have already been made available to High School students.  Junior Leadership applications are due August 1, 2011.  The cost of the program is largely paid for through business sponsorships.  To view sponsor benefits download the sponsor investment form.  All contributions are paid to the Lake Norman Chamber Foundation and tax deductible.

2011 Plan of Action / 2010 Year End Report Published

The Chamber has published the 2011 Chamber Plan of Action as well as the 2010 Year End Report on the Chamber’s website.  We encourage our members to view what we accomplished together last year and what the Lake Norman Chamber is focused on in 2011 as we work together to grow our business community!  View the plan and report on our website at Chamber Plan of Action.

Big Day at the Lake

This past weekend was overcast but a great time was still had by all.   The Lake Norman business community and residents were incredibly generous with their time, money and talents with Big Day at the Lake. If you could not participate and would still like to donate to Big Brothers Big Sisters, you make checks payable and send to Big Brothers Big Sisters care of:  Dave Yochum editor of Business Today and chair of Big Day at the Lake, PO Box 2062, Cornelius 28031.

North Carolina Chamber and N.C. General Assembly Action

The General Assembly came back into session last week to work mostly on redistricting maps for legislative and Congressional districts, and also possible votes to override gubernatorial vetoes on certain bills. On Wednesday (7/13) the Senate convened and voted to override the governor’s veto on several important bills. The House is tentatively scheduled to take up those bills on July 25. The N.C. Chamber is still working on numerous pro-jobs priorities including:

Senate Bill 781: Regulatory Reform Act of 2011 was vetoed by Gov. Perdue on June 30. The North Carolina Chamber and their business allies are working with the governor and legislative leaders on how to make the primary provisions covered by the bill a reality this year. Read why S781 is a jobs bill

Senate Bill 33: Medical Liability Reform was vetoed on June 30 by the governor.  The N.C. Chamber continues to work with allies and state leaders to see if a compromise can be worked out this session.  Read more on why SB33 is good for NC’s business climate and for a list of allies.

Senate Bill 709: Energy Jobs Act, also vetoed, will increase energy production in NC to facilitate job creation and expansion of business and industry opportunities, creating an estimated 10,000 jobs and $500 million in tax revenue for the state. Read more on why this bill is good for business.

The Lake Norman Chamber of Commerce has not specifically taken action on any of the three above bills.

Final Thoughts:

As we approach this week, with the presentation on Thursday of Charlotte Mayor Anthony Foxx and the impact of the 2012 DNC on the Charlotte region, we should keep in mind the words of Sam Ewing who said, “Nothing is so embarrassing as watching someone do something that you said could not be done.”

When you believe you can do something – even when countless friends and advisors have told you otherwise – you open up the possibility that others will follow with you.  That is the essence of entrepreneurship and what makes this country so great.

Have a great day at the lake!

Lake Norman Chamber e-Brief for July 11, 2011

Mayor Foxx

Charlotte Mayor Anthony Foxx discusses 2012 DNC at Chamber Luncheon

Charlotte Mayor Anthony Foxx will discuss the 2012 Democratic National Convention at a luncheon to be held, Thursday, July 21, at 11:45 at NorthStone Country Club in Huntersville.  Mayor Foxx will address how business and our local region will benefit from the event, aid in our economic development and stimulate commerce, and position Charlotte as a destination for travel and tourism.  The announcements are already impacting conference and convention bookings by the CRVA.  Register for the PowerLuncheon here or call the Chamber at 704-892-1922.  The luncheon is sponsored by Peoples Bank.

Certificate of Need Hearing to be held on Carolinas HealthCare Facility

Carolinas HealthCare System has submitted a Certificate of Need application to the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) which, according to CHS, will help address the growing demand in the community for inpatient beds for behavioral health patients and ease the overcapacity at CMC-Randolph.  DHHS plans to hold a public hearing on CHS’s CON application on July 14, 2011, at 12:30 p.m. at the Government Center in Charlotte.

Del Murphy, Vice President, Planning and Market Development for Carolinas HealthCare System spoke to Chamber members at a special briefing last week regarding the facility.  Information on the facility, and the PowerPoint he presented, can be viewed by visiting Public Policy presentation

Leadership Lake Norman Now Accepting Applications

The Chamber is accepting applications for the 2011-2012 session of Leadership Lake Norman.   Leadership Lake Norman is a program to develop a group of informed, committed, and qualified individuals capable of providing visionary and progressive leadership for the Lake Norman region.  The tuition for the nine-month course is $425 for Chamber members and $500 for non-members.  Applications should be received by August 19, 2011 to be eligible for the program.  All applicants will be notified in writing regarding acceptance in the program by August 26, 2011.  To download the on-line brochure visit Leadership Lake Norman.

2011 Plan of Action / 2010 Year End Report Published

The Chamber has published the 2011 Chamber Plan of Action as well as the 2010 Year End Report on the Chamber’s website.  We encourage our members to view what we accomplished together last year and what the Lake Norman Chamber is focused on in 2011 as we work together to grow our business community!  View the plan and report on our website at Chamber Plan of Action.

Update on “Snap” Union Elections

A couple of weeks ago the Lake Norman Chamber reported that the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) had proposed new reforms to union election procedures yesterday (6/21) to dramatically shorten the election process for workers to vote over whether or not to form a union.

Currently, 95% of union elections take place within 56 days of union election petitions being filed by a labor union. Last year the average time frame for elections was 31 days. Under the proposed rules, the time between filing a union election petition and the election would be shortened to as little as two weeksThe new regulations would also limit the time employers have to submit an electronic list of all employees, including their email addresses and phone numbers, from 7 to 2 days.

Last week (June 30) Senator Mike Enzi joined with fellow Senators Orin Hatch (R-Utah) and Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.) to call on the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) to delay the public hearing on the agency’s proposal and allow for an extension of time to prepare testimony and file comments.

We will keep our members informed about this and other labor issues important to jobs and the economy, especially when there is an opportunity to weigh in and make a difference.

 Final Thoughts

Last week, former Cornelius Mayor Harold Little passed away after a brief illness.  Mayor Little was 85.   Harold was a U.S. Army Veteran and served as Mayor from 1985 to 1993 when our chamber of commerce was being organized.  He recently led the effort to create a new Veterans Memorial in the Cornelius Town Center which was dedicated this past Memorial Day.  His illness did not allow him to participate.

While I had met the Mayor a few times before, I had a chance to get to know him at a Cornelius Lions Club meeting  in 1999 in which I was speaking, updating their membership on business activities.  It was at this first encounter when he inquired about the “Prepared Food Taxes” and when it was set to expire.  I didn’t know anything about it and informed him I’d look into it.

I did just that finding out North Mecklenburg was sending about $500,000 in revenue down to Charlotte without any of the tax receipts staying in our community to help with travel and tourism.  Ironically, I also met with resistance to changing any of this as local elected leaders were concerned that trying to take tax money away from the City of Charlotte, however deserving our community was of the funds, could impact our transportation projects on the TIP (Transportation Improvement Plan) as Charlotte held the majority of votes.

Mayor Little

Months later, speaking to the same group again on a different topic, Harold asked what I had done about the tax issue.  When I explained the opposition I had encountered, he wrote down a couple of allies that might assist us and in so many words told me to go back out there and do my job.  Mayor Little reminded me the Chamber might have to take an unpopular stand but we needed to remind the folks in Charlotte that North Mecklenburg was part of the Charlotte region and a portion of those dollars needed to remain here working for us.

Gary Knox, who helped organize and Chair the Chamber, and would one day serve as Mayor of Cornelius, shared that sentiment and we led the fight to return a portion of the prepared food tax to our communities in 2001.  Since then, that revenue has grown significantly and played a critical role in shaping the travel and tourism for our region and our locals parks and recreation.

Over the next decade, I often encountered Mayor Little attending town board meetings and he never failed to ask about the Chamber and how local businesses were faring.  I could see by the look in his eyes how much he cared and that compassion for his community was felt in his energy and commitment as he worked to leave his town and region better than he found it.

Mayor Little used the talents, wisdom, and vision the Lord provided him and changed the face of his community and touched a great many lives a long the way.  Harold left a legacy of leadership and we were all fortunate to know him.

Lessons learned along the way… #5 “Dare to be strange”

 
Bill Russell, CCE

More than two decades ago, I met an accountant who had a slightly different twist on the phrase “Dare to be different.”  Wally Owings was serving as a National Vice President of the United States Junior Chamber of Commerce from Virginia assigned to my home state of  South Carolina.  Owings met with the local presidents and state officers from South Carolina’s largest young people’s organization and encouraged us to get out of our comfort zones.

Nearly all of us were familiar with “thinking outside of the box” but Wally took it the extreme.  He said as leaders we were all likely comfortable with leadership and daring to be different.  But it wasn’t enough to be different – we had to dare to be strange.  You cannot be afraid of having people think you are odd or peculiar if you’re going to push people past limitations they impose on themselves, often accepting the status quo.

Owings shared a story he had read about Walt Disney when Disney was a young fifth grader.  The teacher assigned students in his classroom to color a flower garden.  As the teacher walked down the rows observing all the students carefully coloring in the lines with bright bold colors, she stopped by young Walt’s desk.  The teacher noted that all his drawings were quite unusual – actually strange. 

Picking up one of his drawings, she remarked, “Walt, your picture is all wrong.  Flowers don’t have faces on them.”     Walt looked back at the teacher and confidently said, “Mine do!” and continued busily finishing his task.    Have you been to Disneyland or Walt Disney World lately?  If you have, you’ll see all the flowers still have faces.

This past January we recognized former Cornelius Mayor Nannie Potts with the Chamber Diversity Council’s first Lifetime Achievement Award for her contributions to the community and region bringing people of all races and backgrounds together.  Ms. Potts, an African-American, participated in the sit-ins at the Woolworth Department Store in Statesville, similar to those taking place during the civil rights struggle of the early 1960’s.

Former Mayor Potts receiving an award from Commissioner Bentley

The actions of those engaged citizens were looked at by some as more than strange, in their view it was an act of defiance.  However, Potts and those that joined her that day saw a wrong and they attempted to right it.   Leadership is getting people from where they are to where they have not been.  According to, Owings, “It’s often doing the scary and uncomfortable.  We worry too much about what others think but they are not prepared to go where we are moving.  Leadership is lonely by definition.”  Wally summed it up to us young business leaders two decades ago, “You just have to get comfortable with being uncomfortable – that’s as strange as it gets.”

Some people saw the actions of Wally Owings, Nannie Potts and Walt Disney as strange.  However, they saw the world around them and did more than dare to be different.  They pushed the envelope, dared to see the world differently than it was, and accepted nothing less than their very best.