By Gary Nelson
Senior staff writer
The Crossville-Cumberland County Chamber of Commerce recently celebrated with its annual membership meeting in Fairfield Glade at the Conference Center.
The annual meeting offers those who attend a chance to meet other Chamber members, review the year and honor those who have served and volunteered their time and efforts for the betterment of the community.
The Crossville-Cumberland County Chamber of Commerce is a voluntary organization of business and professional men and women who have joined together for the purpose of promoting the civic, commercial and industrial progress of our community.
The Chamber's mission is to promote the professional organization, the industry it serves and performance of its members, and to assist members in the safe and successful execution of operations nationwide and internationally.
Rather than having a keynote speaker this year, several committee reports were given to the members and some testimonials were also made during the meeting.
Chamber board member Jerry Wood gave an economic development report and said new business and industry was currently healthy in Cumberland County.
"We are among the top 20 friendly places in Tennessee to open a business and there are six expansions and 200 jobs being created," Wood said.
Wood said the county is currently in the process of becoming site certified through the state with the Plateau Partnership Park. He added, "The tourism industry is vibrant in Cumberland County."
Janice Hamby gave a report about community development and specifically mentioned the Leadership Cumberland program and the retiree recruitment task force being vital in recruiting people to the area.
"The volunteers make this a dynamic program that will impact the community for years to come through their service projects," Hamby said.
Melanie Garrett with the 2013 class of Leadership Cumberland said this year the group chose to work with Kids on the Rise for its service project and held a birthday bash party for the children.
"Many of them are children who have never even had a birthday party before. It was very special for them and us," Garrett said.
Carla French gave a report for retail development and emphasized how important it is to shop in Crossville and not outside of the county.
"The sales tax revenue that is generated is important to the whole community. Sixty cents of each dollar spent here in the local retail businesses stay within this community. Forty cents of each dollar spent in a chain store in this county stays within the community and if you go to Knoxville, zero of it benefits the community," French said.
Amanda Elmore gave a membership development report and stressed that members should use the Chamber's website as a business consultant.
"Our membership directory is like your own website and and has had more than 81,000 hits," Elmore said.
Chamber members honored outgoing chamber board chairman Brad Fox for his service and presented him with a care basket filled with products from various businesses in Cumberland County.
Board officers for 2012-'13 were also honored, including Amanda Elmore, Karen Cole, Valorie Cox, Carla French, Art Gernt, Larry Henson, Roy Howard, Raj Patel, Frank Shipley, Charlie Strayer, Don Alexander, Janice Hamby, Pepe Perron and Jerry Wood.
A membership video produced by Gateway Productions was also enjoyed after the meal.
Fox introduced Art Gernt as 2013-'14 board chairman and Gernt introduced board members for 2013-'14, including Vicki Baucum, Barry Field, Brad Fox, Amanda Elmore, Karen Cole, Valorie Cox, Carla French, Larry Henson, Glenn McDonald, John White, Roy Howard, Charlie Strayer, Don Alexander, Janice Hamby, Dan Richardson, Pepe Perron and Jerry Wood.
Gernt honored Chamber staff members Ashley Allen, Sarah Hazleton, Corrin Brown and Ray Evans with the Plateau Partnership Park and also introduced the Chamber's new executive director, Brad Allamong.
Allamong also honored the Chamber staff for its hard work and dedication in "keeping things running smoothly during the transition of leadership after Beth Alexander retired."
Allamong said he loved this community and was looking forward to spending many years in Cumberland County.
"Most people would kill to have what you have here in Crossville," Allamong said.
The group also honored Beth Alexander for her many years of dedicated service to the Crossville-Cumberland County Chamber.