President's End of Year LetterDecember 16, 2020
Well, we have made it… As we bring 2020 to a close and I prepare my final Presidential newsletter, I would like to share these lyrics to a Bob Dylan song that seem to sum up this year’s theme for me;
“No reason to get excited, The thief, he kindly spoke…
There are many here among us, who feel that life is but a joke…
But you and I, we’ve been through that…
And this is not our fate, so let us not talk falsely now…
The hour is getting late…”- Bob Dylan
I think we can all agree that 2020 “is not our fate.” This year has moved all of us into many different realities, at times forced us out of our comfort levels, and developed different point of views based on our individual circumstances. Our community’s support, strength, and ingenuity have sustained us through an evolving year of change.
In spite of how this year transformed our programs, your Chamber continued to achieve many mission-driven initiatives through:
· Graduating the 32nd class of Project Lead, which made Fort a more dog-friendly city.
· Welcoming new teachers by providing sponsored gift certificates instead of classroom supplies, to help with the challenges of virtual learning.
· Creating and updating an online COVID Resource Tool Kit to assist businesses with safety protocols and financial support.
· Producing a new Quality of Life book, city map, Discover Wisconsin episode, and Summer Survival Guide to help people explore all the recreational assets in Fort Atkinson.
· Selling over $200,000 in chamber gift certificates in support of our local businesses.
· Revamping our annual Golf Outing to facilitate a safe event which put forward our first-ever online auction.
· Hosting a virtual Fall Open House to celebrate our much-deserved Small Business Person of the Year and Tourism Counts honorees.
· Writing 64 letters of support for businesses applying for WEDC “We’re All In” grants.
Your Chamber celebrated 60 business anniversaries, 3 ribbon cuttings, and welcomed 18 new members. The list of accomplishments that your Chamber has achieved this year while rolling with the changes, is a lengthy one. I want to acknowledge and send a heartfelt “THANK YOU” to our Executive Director, Carrie Chisholm, and her staff for continuing to come up with ideas and implement innovative ways to support our Fort Atkinson community!
I would also like to take the time to thank the Board of Directors. I am honored to be part of this group of men and women whose time, effort, and genuine involvement and collaboration has been integral in getting through these past 10 months.
Please welcome Mike Ehlers, who will be taking the helm as your Chamber President in 2021. Mike is currently the Vice President of Operations at MK Cellular and has been with the company for 16 years. He is a Project LEAD graduate, and he and his wife Jessica are raising their two beautiful children in Fort Atkinson. I look forward to serving alongside him next year as Past President as he endeavors to make our Fort Atkinson Chamber even better.
“There are many here among us” in our community that do not “talk falsely” but prefer to see the good of 2020. Our collective perspective, empathy, and community strength will define our quality of life in 2021. Thank you for investing your time, talent, and resources in the Fort Atkinson Area Chamber of Commerce. It has been my pleasure to serve as President this year for, in my humble opinion, the best Chamber in Wisconsin. I wish you a Merry Christmas and prosperous New Year!
Chamber President - 2020