I own my own State Farm Agency and I’m celebrating my 40th anniversary this year, 36 of those years right here on Milwaukee Ave. I have been a Gladstone Park Chamber member since 1991 as a Charter Member and have been a Board Member since 1991, actually President for about 20 of those years. We created the Chamber in 1991 as there was no other Chamber specifically serving Gladstone Park. I joined the Board as I wanted to be a part of the leadership team that was dedicated to do something very positive for this community. The question, ‘What is the biggest value you get from being a part of the Chamber?’ is difficult to answer. Over the years, I have belonged to and been on the Boards of many organizations with my reasoning being, to give back to the communities that have supported my business and my family. In it’s infancy, we saw the opportunity that this Chamber had to create something very special that could have a very positive impact on both the residents as well as the business owners in Gladstone Park . . . and we have done just that. We have an amazing group of people in this organization. We have more meetings than most other Chambers, mainly because we do so much more than most. Over the years we have become an organization that is respected not only in Gladstone Park, but well beyond our borders. We are innovators. It’s so very rare to have a group of people with this level of commitment and dedication, that works together so well and that accomplishes so much to the benefit of so many people and so many organizations.
On the personal side, anyone that’s talked with me for more than 15 minutes knows that my family is my life. Demi and I have been married 42 years, we have 5 children and now have 6 grandchildren . . . funny, just a couple years ago we had 2 grandkids and look at us now, it’s absolutely incredible.
The final question, ‘What one thing members need to know about our Chamber that they might not already know’ is this, we are not a cliquish group. Over the years I have developed many friendships as a result of this Chamber, many of them lifelong friendships. There is no pretense here, we are all here to develop business contacts, but developing business relationships will better help the success of your business. It’s just like anything else, the more you put in, the more you get out. Once we get up and running again, give us a try, a legitimate try. Get actively involved for a year or two and you’ll quickly realize the benefits of membership in the Gladstone Park Chamber of Commerce . . . hope to see you around.