We're live at the Community Development Foundation's annual meeting tonight.
It's in building 5 of the Tupelo Furniture Market. Networking started at 5:30. Homemade Jamz started playing at 6. The program started around 6:20 p.m.
Some of the items on the menu tonight:
• Ginger-glazed pork tenderloin (Billie's Catering)
• Steamship rounds of beef (Hilton Garden Inn)
• Ambrosia, greek salad, fruit salad, pasta salad, green salad (Clarion Inn & Summit Center)
• Green beans, asparagus, zucchini, squash, red peppers, onions, eggplant, artichokes, olives (Park Heights)
• Spinach lasagne (Old Venice Pizza Co.)
• Sushi & stir fry (Park Heights)
Admission is free for members. Call 662-842-4521 to RSVP.
Check back to see what happens and what Chairman David Irwin thought of his year in office.
David Rumbarger, president and CEO of CDF, starts the meeting at 6:25.
National anthem: Rev. Tillmon Calvert of Johnson Chapel Missionary Baptist Church
Prayer: Rev. Jim Curtis of First United Methodist Church
Showing a video about how "Our Future is Bright." That's the theme tonight. The group had baskets of sunglasses when we came in. Tables are decorated in bright, neon colors. Cookies are in bright yellow icing. Will post photos after.
Introducing current officers:
• CDF Chairman David Irwin and his wife, Jenny
• Chairman-Elect David Copenhaver and his wife, Elaine
• First Vice Chairman-Elect Chauncey Godwin and his wife, Ann
• Second Vice Chairman-Elect Shane Hooper and his wife, Katrina
Jim Ingram leadership class
A special part of our program tonight is the recognition and accomplishment of the Jim Ingram Community Leadership Institute Class of 2012. The program was initiated with the CREATE Foundation in 2001 and named in memory of Jim Ingram, whose vision and passion for leadership development helped make the program possible.
Couldn't attend tonight:
Ambassador of the Year award
Our Ambassadors Club is one of the most active groups at CDF.
• 38 people from member businesses served as chamber ambassadors.
• Attended 78 ribbon cuttings
• Recruited 21 new CDF members
• Served as business mentors for 190 businesses,
• Volunteered hundreds of hours of service.
CDF Ambassador of the Year goes to ... Bea Luckett, a Realtor with TRI Inc. Realtors.
She attended 62 ribbon cuttings, volunteered during the CDF Golf Tournament, Business to Business Connection and Taste of Tupelo, recruited two new members, and served as a mentor to 16 CDF member businesses.
Chairman Dr. David Irwin, a founding partner of Cardiology Associates of North Mississippi:
Praise 3 things that could go unnoticed if I did not.
1. I am extremely proud of the success that we have had in going from the two Future Focus campaigns that funded CDF for the last decade to tiered membership levels. Our retention goal was met with 86% of members retained and our financial goal was met representing over $1 million of membership investment. The transition was totally orchestrated by the staff – and the membership complied without a whimper and we saved a campaign expense of $150,000.
2. I am proud of the way the Chamber of Commerce has emerged with greater vigor and recognition, and a greater sense of responsibility.
3. I am proud of the interaction of this year’s board and the CDF staff – each saw new faces and new relationships were formed.
It has been CDF’s first and primary goal to strengthen our existing industry base – to help them expand, modernize: and sustain their productivity into the future.
Let me show you some great examples.
Showing a video. Some of the businesses mentioned:
Industries listed in the video have expanded this year. These companies reinvested in Lee County because of the business environment and skilled workforce. All were aided and supported by CDF and our professional staff.
With these expansions, we have added $29 million of new capital and 357 jobs with an annual average salary of over $40,000.
We are continuing to follow a 10-year plan divided into yearly goals and accomplishments. In 2010, I chaired our 2020 Strategy Committee which is now in the second year of work. This plan sets CDF apart from other economic development organizations and molds our work and drives CDF’s vision of the future.
Our second goal was to engage more young professionals, both in Lee County and elsewhere wanting to return to the area. We have accomplished this in 3 ways.
Launched a Facebook page this year -“Tupelo Ties. Has 296 likes.
The Renasant Center for IDEAs started IDEA Hub to house start-up businesses needing a desk and a business address on Main Street. The center’s occupancy rate reached a high of 47%, with over 132 people working out of the business incubator. Many of those are young people trying to establish their own businesses.
From the Jim Ingram Community Leadership Institute graduates and the Tupelo Young Professionals will come the next “George McLeans.”
Tupelo/Lee County has a reputation for embracing newcomers. Our challenge is to work harder in getting them engaged in civic participation.
Lastly we want to diversify the overall economy in the area. Great progress was made this year with the completion of the new CDF Center. It will create the perfect “first impression” for those looking at our community as a potential site location.
We have entered the era of automotive manufacturing with the celebration of the first Corolla rolling off the line at Blue Springs. That single event opened a new horizon that will forever influence and improve employment prospects for everyone in Northeast Mississippi.
I attended a meeting with Jim Barksdale a few weeks ago. He is best known for his leadership at FedEx, Netscape, and the Barksdale Reading Institute at Ole Miss and is currently the acting director of the Mississippi Development Authority. Barksdale and his staff visited with David Rumbarger and other members of the community to find out just HOW WE DO IT!!!
New 2012 - 2013 board chairman
Welcome David Copenhaver of Toyota as the new chair for 2012 – 2013. He has become an integral part of the community and has provided outstanding leadership both at Toyota and in his civic affairs. David and his wife Elaine have become fast friends of the community
Newly elected directors:
I am appointing an additional 12 one-year directors.
Although my company is what brought Elaine and me to Tupelo, it is many of you here tonight that have made us now look at Tupelo as our permanent home. We have found, as I have also heard from many of our folks who have relocated here, Tupelo and Lee County to be a warm, friendly and inviting community.
Before joining Toyota, I was in the economic development profession for over 20 years in several southeast communities. While my first visit to Tupelo was five years ago, I had read and heard about the can do spirit of this community and the Community Development Foundation several times during my economic development career.
CDF has been viewed as a model economic development organization, recognized for tenacity and success for many years. It is truly an honor to become your chairman, and to have the opportunity to return to my economic development roots.
Because I have been a part of many economic development projects from the prospect’s side, the recruiter’s side and now as a community volunteer, I appreciate the complex yet well-orchestrated efforts to bring results to a community as we recruit new industry and fight for our existing companies to grow and expand.
Never has our mission to work for “more and better jobs” been more critical. Let us begin tonight, here and now to ensure that our future is the sunny forecast that we all desire.
With CDF, our future is so brigh, we gotta wear shades! Thank you for your attendance tonight. Now put on your shades, as we welcome back Homemade Jamz. Thank you.
Meeting adjourned at 7:03 p.m. Homemade Jamz is playing "Ain't No Sunshine." People are milling about.
Make sure you check out Friday's Journal for more info from Dennis Seid.