Rhonda Pyatt/ Hoover Chamber of Commerce
Hoover Chamber of Commerce
2016 president Chris Schmidt at the Hoover Chamber of Commerce January luncheon.
2016 is the year for technology in the Hoover Area Chamber of Commerce, according to chamber president and Daniel Corporation vice president Chris Schmidt.
Schmidt, a long-time member of the chamber and five-year member of the Board of Directors, moved from his position as first vice-president to president at the Jan. 21 meeting.
“The chamber’s director Bill Powell came up to me a couple of years ago and asked if I would like to be president,” he said. “I told him I would be more than happy to.”
Chamber members are in the process of combining technology and social media sites so different businesses are able to get the most updated information about each other and what the city needs.
“The chamber’s missions is to help connect businesses in the area,” he said. “We’re on a push to increase membership so we want to have ways for businesses to more easily communicate with one another by investing in technology and working more with social media.”
Schmidt said the use of technology is part of a bigger plan — to grow membership.
“The biggest thing we want to do is grow membership and make it feel as if belonging to the chamber has benefits and value, rather than it just ‘being something to do,’” he said. “Any little bit we can give back to the community bodes well for the chamber at large.”
Working with businesses to provide more opportunities to residents is what the chamber is about, Schmidt said.
Along with helping businesses network, the chamber hosts fundraising events to raise money for scholarships.
“We promote programs already in place but we also think of other things like the job fair that kicked off last year,” he said. “Fundraisers are a dual purpose because it’s scholarships and networking.”
The scholarships are based on four platforms to include numerous types of students, Schmidt said.
“You may not have a 4.0 GPA, but you may show us there’s something special about you and you need help, and we provide that,” he said.
Schmidt said board members are talking about ways to expand the scholarships and brainstorming ideas such as making them available for trade schools along with four-year universities.
Schmidt said the community events in the city, such as the Christmas tree lighting and the Pig Iron Barbeque help business owners connect with residents and to further find out what they’re looking for.
“Hoover is a great place to do business because there are major highways that intersect there and that promotes a business environment,” he said. “We’ve got a good board and people dedicated to the city.”