Lake Norman Chamber of Commerce Honors Local Public Safety Officers

The Lake Norman Chamber of Commerce saluted the men and women who work tirelessly to protect and serve the families and businesses of the Lake Norman region at a Public Safety Luncheon held at the Peninsula Club in Cornelius.  The eighth annual event was keynoted by Tamara Williams, Dean of Central Piedmont Community College – Merancas Campus. Dean Williams shared the role CPCC plays in training public safety officers and first responders.   Chamber president Bill Russell, emceed the event and spoke to the critical role the police, fire, and first responders play in making the community a great place to live, work, and visit.  Russell and 2013 Chamber Chairman of the Board Wendy Moran, presented awards to the most outstanding officer from each North Mecklenburg department, selected by their respective chief.

The awards program was presented by Wells Fargo Bank and sponsored by Lake Norman Publications, Central Piedmont Community College, and the Peninsula Club.     The Lake Norman Chamber Public Service Award recipients for 2013 included: Officer Joseph Squashic – Cornelius Police Department, Officer Phillip E. Geiger, Jr – Davidson Police Department, Detective Jennifer Sprague – Huntersville Police Department, Firefighter Bill Shick  – Cornelius Fire Department, Deputy Chief Ryan Monteith  – Davidson Fire Department, Firefighter Bill Suthard  – Huntersville Fire Department, and Brandy N. Lankford  – North Mecklenburg Rescue Squad, Inc.     The Lake Norman Chamber of Commerce represents approximately 1,000 businesses in the Cornelius, Davidson, Huntersville, and greater Lake Norman region.  For more information about the Chamber visit LakeNormanChamber.org.

2013 Public Safety reduced (640x424)

Picture: (From right to left) First row: Cornelius Fire Chief Jim Barbee, Officer Joseph Squashic – Cornelius Police Department, Davidson Police Officer Phillip E. Geiger, Jr.,  Deputy Chief Ryan Monteith  – Davidson Fire Department, and Chamber Chairman of the Board Wendy Moran.  Second Row: Lake Norman Chamber President Bill Russell, Huntersville Police Department Deputy Chief Michael Kee, Huntersville Fire Chief Larry Irvin,  Deputy Chief Ryan Monteith  – Davidson Fire Department, Cornelius Police Department Major Kevin Black, Davidson Police Chief Jeanne Miller, Davidson Town Manager Leamon Brice, and North Mecklenburg Rescue Squad Chief John Stroup  Photo courtesy of Patrick Nicholson

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Don’t Miss Lake Norman’s Premier Business Trade Show – Biz Expo Friday March 8, 2013

Chamber Business Expo Friday, March 8th 11 am until 5 pm

Davidson College Belk Arena

Expo 4 days awayThe Lake Norman Chamber’s signature event, the 2013 Business Expo, will be held Friday, March 8th at the Davidson College Belk Arena from 11 am until 5 pm.  The Expo is presented by Lake Norman Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram and Randy Marion Automotive.  Gold Sponsors include Lake Norman Magazine, MI Connection, and Presbyterian Hospital Huntersville.  Silver Sponsors are The Herald Weekly, Carolinas Healthcare System, and Piedmont Natural Gas.  Admission is free and the public is encouraged to attend. A full listing of sponsors can be found in this newsletter and on the Chamber’s website.

To encourage public participation, KS Audio Video in Cornelius has donated a 39″ Hisense Flat Panel 1080p LCD television.  Guests will be encouraged to play Chamber BINGO visiting exhibitor’s booths for a chance to win. This year, it will not require signatures from the vendors but contestants will still have to visit the booths!

More than 2,000 people are expected to attend with approximately 130 businesses and 20 non-profits exhibited in what has become the Charlotte region’s largest business trade show.  Lunch will be provided by three Lake Norman restaurants: Alton’s Kitchen and Cocktails, Fox and the Hound Birkdale, and the Honey Baked Ham Company & Café will serve meals for $8 including beverage.  Tickets can be purchased at the Expo or in advance at the Chamber.  The restaurant menu can be found at www.lakenormanchamber.org.

Bill Russell, president of the Chamber said, “The Business Expo, now in its twelfth year, is an excellent opportunity for local businesses and non-profits to showcase their products, services, and organizations to the community.  It has also become a tremendous networking opportunity as we re-establish old friendships and create new relationships.

For a complete listing of sponsors and exhibitors, directions, and other information see the Expo website at www.lakenormanchamber.org or call the Chamber for more information at 704-892-1922.

Lake Norman Chamber of Commerce Honors Local Public Safety Officers

2012 North Mecklenburg Public Safety Officers / Volunteers of the Year

The Lake Norman Chamber of Commerce saluted the men and women who work tirelessly to protect and serve the families and businesses of the Lake Norman region at a Public Safety Luncheon held at River Run Country Club in Davidson Thursday, October 18, 2012.  The seventh annual event was keynoted by Kathryn Firmin-Sellers, PhD, the Region Director for United Family Services.  Fermin-Sellers gave an update on the need for a North Mecklenburg Magistrate and the progress of a victim’s advocate which currently serves the three towns.  She also presented the first 2012 Champion for Victim’s Rights to Inge Garrison from Presbyterian Hospital.

Chamber president Bill Russell, emceed the event and spoke to the critical role the police, fire, and first responders play in making the community a great place to live and work.  The Chamber presented awards to the most outstanding officer from each North Mecklenburg department, selected by their respective chief.

The awards program was presented by Wells Fargo Bank and sponsored by Lake Norman Publications, Central Piedmont Community College, and Crime Stoppers. 

The Lake Norman Chamber Public Service Award recipients for 2012 included: Officer Matthew Sheppard- Cornelius Police Department, Officer Melvin Waller, Jr. –  Police Department, Detective Tim Lesser – Huntersville Police Department, Firefighter E.J. McCormick – Cornelius Lemley Fire Rescue, Firefighter Matthew Jovic – Davidson Fire Department, Firefighter Brent Irvin – Huntersville Fire Department, and John “Koppy” Williams – North Mecklenburg Rescue Squad, Inc.

The Crime Stopper of the Year was presented by Crime Stopper’s Chairman Tommy Davis who was also recognized by Cornelius Police Chief Bence Hoyle for his service to the region.  This year’s recipient was Nancy McGahey.

The Lake Norman Chamber represents approximately 900 businesses in the Cornelius, Davidson, Huntersville, and greater Lake Norman region.  For more information about the Chamber visit LakeNormanChamber.org.

Lake Norman Chamber of Commerce Recognizes Cool Breeze Cyclery as Small Business of the Year

Cool Breeze Cyclery Team

The Lake Norman Chamber of Commerce has selected Mooresville’s Cool Breeze Cyclery as the 2012 Small Business of the Year. Chamber Chairman of the Board Jack Salzman presented the award to owners Steve Doolittle and Chris Vasiloff at a reception held at the Chamber Thursday, May 24th. The business carries Trek, Gary Fisher Signature, and Cervelo bikes with 12 full time employees. They have two locations in Mooresville and Charlotte. Salzman announced that a committee comprised of himself, Hilary Broadway – Chamber Chairman for Business Growth, and Denis Bilodeau – Chairman of Community Affairs, selected the recipients from nominations received from the membership. Criteria including growth in revenues, staying power, innovative marketing and management practices, growth in employees, business friendly nature of the business, and involvement in the community.

The Cool Breeze Cyclery opened a new location six years ago in Charlotte after operating more than a decade in downtown Mooresville. The company created its own signature “Lake Norman Excursion” charity ride for the American Red Cross. Attendance has grown to nearly 1,000 riders in its sixth year and the combined charitable contribution to the Red Cross exceeds $80,000. The Chamber also recognized Pat Helmandollar of Savvy Salon and Day Spa in Cornelius as the runner up. Salzman cited that the business has anchored its shopping center creating a center of business vitality and undergoing a recent remodeling. In 2011, Savvy Salon saw a 44% increase in gift certificates with 40 employees involved in the business. Helmandollar spoke about their community focus, Make A Wish, as a priority fundraiser.

Small Business Runner Up – Savvy Salon & Day Spa

In addition to the winner and runner up, the Chamber also recognized The Welcome Committee, Inc. in Mooresville and Uncommon Scents, Inc. in Huntersville as two outstanding small businesses who were cited as Honorable Mentions. “The Honorable Mentions were themselves outstanding businesses. Each of these nominations demonstrated a growth in revenue; had marketing or management practices that made them stand out, and each gave back to the community,” stated Salzman. The reception wrapped a week-long series of events which included seminars conducted by the Small Business Administration and SCORE as well as business and sales coaches on networking and marketing a business on the Internet.

The three Towns of Cornelius, Davidson, and Huntersville each proclaimed May 21-25 Small Business Week in partnership with the Chamber and the Small Business Administration. For more information on the Lake Norman Chamber of Commerce, visit their website at http://www.lakenormanchamber.org.org or call 704-892-1922.

Lake Norman Chamber of Commerce Leadership Program Graduates Twenty-Two

Class XV of Leadership Lake Norman graduated a class of twenty-two on Wednesday, May 23, 2012.  The graduation ceremony took place at Rural Hill in Huntersville with Chamber president Bill Russell on hand to congratulate the leadership graduates.   Russell commended the graduates for enriching their awareness of Lake Norman’s community and business resources.  “On behalf of the Chamber and our region, I encourage you to take the next step and get involved in the community.  Many of you are already in positions of leadership in your companies and in our communities,” stated Russell.  “I hope the program you’ve just participated in will benefit you in your endeavors as business and community leaders.”    

Also speaking to the group was 2010-2011 graduate and Chairman of the Leadership Lake Norman program,Tricia Sisson, who commended each graduate on their year and presented them with their certificate of completion.  Sisson was joined by fellow graduates Erika Erlenbach, David Peete, Hailey Wilson, and Shelly Johnson who helped coordinate this year’s program as well as facilitate the Junior Leadership Program. Peete was chairman of Junior Leadership Lake Norman which graduated its first class last month.

During the graduation program, participants spoke of the sessions or experiences which impacted them the most. Terri Bennett, a graduate of this year’s program, was selected the Chairman of the 2012-2013 program.   Applications and information for Leadership XVI will be made available via the Lake Norman Chamber’s website at www.lakenormanchamber.org. or by calling the Lake Norman Chamber of Commerce at 704-892-1922 mid June.  

Graduates of the 2011-2012 program include:  Terri Bennett – Presbyterian Hospital, Cyndi Cearbaugh – Visit Lake Norman, Jason Colvin – State Farm Insurance, Lynn Gardiner-Cuyler – Pink Diva Faces, Paul DeBellis – Vibrant Video Productions, Jeff Fissel – Historic Rural Hill, Inc., Erik Peters – Regions Bank, Carl Porter -Telecom/Data consultant, Christine Pulley – Duke Energy/McGuire Nuclear Station, Brian Sheehan – Swim Club Management Group, Brian Sisson – The Range at Lake Norman, Jennifer Stoops – Park Avenue Properties, Rob Higgins – Fulcrum Capital Partners, David Keith – Artisan Signs and Graphics, Ty Lewis – Carolinas HealthCare System – Huntersville Oaks, Elizabeth Lowe – Integrity HVAC, Marsha Marold – EZ TravelnShop.com, Mark Taylor – Carolina Office Systems, Kyle Aler – Raymer-Kepner Funeral Home, Andy Warfield – Lake Norman Citizen Newspaper, Sharon Washam – Carolina HealthCare System, and Wes Wehunt – Davidson Day School.

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 program was developed and is administered by the Lake Norman Chamber of Commerce with approximately 900 business members serving the Cornelius, Davidson, Huntersville, and greater Lake Norman region.

Lake Norman Chamber Members Building Relationships at the Asian Festival Dragon Boat Races

On Saturday, May 5th, the Lake Norman Chamber of Commerce sponsored a boat in the Asian Festival Dragon Boat Race held at Ramsey Creek Park in Cornelius. The team consisted of various members of our business community, including several members of the Lake Norman Chamber’s Diversity Council all of which were novices when it came to Dragon Boat racing.

The 21 member crew quickly bonded after their first practice in 60 degree temperatures and pouring rain. After a mere two practices, the team was ready for race day. The Lake Norman Chamber Team took first place in the initial heat of the day and went on to qualify for the finals.

The day ended with a proud fifth place finish in their division. The entire crew enjoyed the day and the event so much they have vowed to come back with a vengeance next year. The Chambers Dragon Boat Crew consisted of the following Lake Norman business professionals: Ann Garrity (Ann of Siam), Arlene Arciero (Southern Homes of the Carolinas), Eric Bentley (Bank of America), Chantal Bilodeau (Huntersville Family Fitness), Denis Bilodeau (Aquesta Insurance), Stephen Halstead (Halstead Design), Julia Holyfield (Wells Fargo, International), Phil Horton (ATC, TM), Gabe Libutti (On Q Financial Inc), Wendy Moran (Peoples Bank), Evan James Murphy, Melissa Polce and Tracey Stehle (Allen Tate Realty), Kevin Pagan (Believe and Achieve Boot Camps), Austin Smith (In Motion Fitness), Dan Stehle (Stehle Industrial Products), Lee Peterson (Keller Williams Realty), and Walter Yanes (Mamas Pizza).

Address to the Mecklenburg County Board of Commissioners on Commercial Tax Revaluation

The following comments were made to the Mecklenburg County Board of County commissioners on Tuesday, May 1, 2012 at the Board Meeting during public comments on a resolution introduced by County Commissioner Karen Bentley for an independent audit regarding the County’s Revaluation Process.

“I’m Bill Russell, President of the Lake Norman Chamber of Commerce.  I’d like to thank Commissioner Karen Bentley who arranged to have Carey Saul along with Russ Worthen, and Cecil Jackson address our business leaders at the Chamber’s Focus Friday this past week on the revaluation topic.  They were very informative and helpful.

While we share the concern over residential taxes brought to light by the Town of Cornelius and many of its citizens, our main focus has been the impact on small businesses who may be tenants in commercial properties that are just now receiving much higher than anticipated rent invoices with a hefty increase in CAM charges which include the increase from the 2011 property tax revaluation.

The Chamber has no issue at all with an increase which reflects a true and accurate market assessment of the property.  As property and business owners, we all have a fiduciary responsibility to pay for county and municipal government which funds our excellent quality of life: our schools, health and family services, and community infrastructure.

We are concerned however, when independent assessments by the property owners is vastly different from the assessment by the county.  The Lake Norman Chamber has been collecting data from local commercial property owners and we can substantiate there is indeed flaws within the system which need to be corrected, both within the county and quite possibly at the state level.

 Much like what was said earlier by Barb…  this is not a republican versus democrat issue or an issue that pits the haves against the have nots.   But rather an issue for anyone who owns property or operates a business in Mecklenburg County. We only ask that the taxes be justifiable and fair

 On behalf of the Chamber’s more than 900 business members, the vast majority (80% +) of whom are Mecklenburg County businesses, we respectfully ask that the Mecklenburg County Board support the resolution to authorize an externally conducted audit to identify and correct issues with the 2011 revaluation and to address other issues so that a new revaluation could be done effective 1/1/2014.”