NOTE: This "It's Your Business" column by Chamber CEO Eric Spoonmore was published in the January 14, 2022 Bloomington Herald-Times.
As the voice of business in our region, the Greater Bloomington Chamber of Commerce is engaged and involved in many areas that impact what we love most about our community. Our belief in “Better Business, Better Community” recognizes that we collectively prosper when opportunities for professional and personal growth are available to all.
Our members believe that a thriving business sector is necessary for achieving the quality-of-life that residents deserve. We also believe that our best outcomes occur when businesses and government are working together to achieve shared community goals. For example, Monroe County Government and the City of Bloomington swiftly responded to the COVID 19 crisis by creating emergency financial assistance programs targeted for small enterprises. As a result, the responsive action taken by our local officials made a huge difference to small businesses who needed help the most.
Bloomington, IN – January 3, 2022 – The Greater Bloomington Chamber of Commerce will host its annual Legislative Preview next Friday, January 14th from 11:00am to 1:00pm at the American Legion Post 18.
Every January the Chamber kicks off the year in advocacy with the Legislative Preview event, during which the Legislative Agenda for the year is presented and local legislators are invited to share with Chamber members what to expect from the upcoming session.
The following legislators represent parts of Bloomington/Monroe County and have been invited to attend:
State Sen. Eric Koch (District 44)
State Sen. Shelli Yoder (District 40)
State Rep. Jeff Ellington (District 62)
State Rep. Bob Heaton (District 46)
State Rep. Chris May (District 65)
State Rep. Peggy Mayfield (District 60)
State Rep. Matt Pierce (District 61)
The program will begin promptly at 12:00pm with lunch being served at 11:15am.
This event is open to the public, but registration is required. Members may register to attend for $25 while non-members may register to attend for $40. To register, visit www.chamberbloomington.org.
PRESS RELEASE: The Greater Bloomington Chamber of Commerce’s Foundation, The Success School, Seeks Nominations for the 2022 Educator of the Year Awards
The Chamber’s Success School seeks nominations for the 21st Annual Educator of the Year Awards Ceremony to be held on March 3rd. Teachers, program directors, counselors, administrators, instructional staff, and special programs from either Monroe County Community School Corporation or Richland Bean-Blossom district county are eligible for this recognition.
“It’s an extreme privilege for the Chamber’s Success School to honor such a gifted and dedicated group of educators each year. One of the great assets this community possesses is two school districts up to the challenge of inspiring and shepherding our youth to become the productive adults. These awards are the community’s opportunity to pay tribute to those underappreciated educators who deserve recognition,” said Christopher J Emge, Principal of the Chamber’s Success School.”
Those wishing to nominate a deserving educator should contact the Chamber’s Success School at (812) 336-6381 or download a nomination application from the Greater Bloomington Chamber of Commerce’s website at www.ChamberBloomington.org. Nominations are due by January 10th, 2022 to be eligible for consideration.
NOTE: This "It's Your Business" column by Chamber CEO Erin Predmore was published in the November 12, 2021 Bloomington Herald-Times.
This will be my farewell column, which means that the chamber leadership search has been a success.
The Greater Bloomington Chamber of Commerce recently announced that the next president and CEO will be Eric Spoonmore, a longtime community resident, soon-to-be former Monroe County Council member, and a strong advocate for the business community. Eric will be starting in his new role on Dec. 1, and I am confident that he will do an outstanding job for the chamber and the broader community.
When we moved to Bloomington 7 1/2years ago, we repeatedly experienced a strange phenomenon — when meeting new people, the conversation would go like this:
Me: Hi! Nice to meet you!
Them: Isn’t Bloomington the best community?
Me: Uh, I don’t know … we’ve just gotten here. It seems very nice.
Them: It is! It is the best place to live/raise a family/work/relax/visit/ride bikes/eat.
At the time, I would chuckle about this community pride. Little did I know that everyone was right. Bloomington really is the best place. I have loved my time in Bloomington, and I’d like to take a minute to thank a few people and institutions that have made our time in Bloomington spectacular.
Eric Spoonmore has been named the President and CEO of the Greater Bloomington Chamber of Commerce. Spoonmore formally accepted the offer extended by the organization’s board of directors. He will assume his new duties December 1, 2021. The announcement was made today by Chamber board chair Amy Somers Kopp.
Spoonmore currently serves as Monroe County Council President and as an Associate Director for Enrollment Management for the Kelley Direct MBA and MS Programs at the Indiana University Kelley School of Business in Bloomington. He received his Master’s degree in Public Affairs with a concentration in Local Government Management and a Bachelor’s of Science is in Public Affairs at the Indiana University O’Neill School of Public and Environmental Affairs. Spoonmore is resigning from the Monroe County Council effective November 30, 2021.
“It is an extraordinary honor to have been selected as the next President and CEO of the Greater Bloomington Chamber of Commerce,” said Spoonmore. “I am excited to begin this next phase of service in my career, and I look forward to working with the Chamber Board, our talented staff, and all our existing and future members to build upon the myriad successes achieved throughout our impressive 106-year history.”
“Eric will bring a wonderful perspective to the Chamber gained from his vast experience in county government and experience at Indiana University,” said Somers Kopp. “We believe he is the perfect fit for continuing to keep the Chamber at the forefront of building a strong and stable business community in Monroe County.”
The national executive search for The Chamber’s new President and CEO began in the summer of 2021 after Erin Predmore announced her impeding transition away from her role. Predmore will continue to lead the Chamber through the transition and will step down as President and CEO in December.
The Greater Bloomington Chamber of Commerce and the Bloomington Rotary Club will be hosting the annual Business Outlook panel and lunch this year.
The panel and lunch will be held on Tuesday, November 9th, at Alumni Hall in the Indiana Memorial Union. The event is from 11:30 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. and includes a buffet lunch, insights from Kelley School of Business professionals Dr. Kyle Anderson, Dr. Ryan Brewer, and Dr. Jennifer Lynn Rice, along with Jennifer Pearl with the Bloomington Economic Development Corporation, and a moderated question-and-answer session.
The Business Outlook panel was created to allow local business owners and employees to learn more about how the changing economic environment will affect business and public policy decisions in the coming year - globally, nationally, statewide and in Bloomington/Monroe County.
The question-and-answer portion of the event will be moderated by Dr. Phil Powell, Associate Dean of Academic Programs at the Kelley School of Business in Indianapolis.
This event is open to the public, but registration is required. Tickets may be purchased on The Chamber’s website (chamberbloomington.org). Individual seats available virtually and in-person. In-person seats are $20.
The Greater Bloomington Chamber of Commerce will welcome US Senator Todd Young to Bloomington for a special presentation.
The 2021 Federal Focus will be held on Friday, October 22, at the Woolery Mill. The event is from 3:30 p.m. – 5:00 p.m. and includes remarks from the Senator, and a moderated question and answer session.
The Chamber’s Federal Focus event was created to allow dialogue and information sharing between the local business community and elected officials at the federal level. Attendees will have the opportunity to hear directly from the Senator on topics that impact the nation’s business climate, upcoming and recent legislative priorities, and updates from Congress.
The question and answer portion of the event will be moderated by Dan Peterson, Vice President Industry and Government Affairs with Cook Group Incorporated.
This event is open to the public, but registration is required. Tickets may be purchased on The Chamber’s website. Individual seats for Chamber members are $20 and non-members are $35.
Bloomington, IN – The Greater Bloomington Chamber of Commerce held its 106th Annual Meeting and Community Awards this afternoon. This year the Chamber used a hybrid model for the celebration, with sponsors, board members, and award recipients attending in-person at the Monroe County Convention Center and Chamber members participating virtually.
“This past year has been a challenging experience for many of our members as we continue to deal with the COVID pandemic,” said Erin Predmore, President & CEO of the Chamber. “Here at the Chamber, we are glad to be a steady resource for our members as we navigate the situation together, and we are grateful to have opportunities like our annual meeting to connect with you, even if in a hybrid setting.”
Outgoing board chair and Regional President of German American Bank, Cindy Kinnarney, called the meeting to order, and noted her gratitude for the Chamber staff and her fellow board members during her time as chair. She also kicked off the Community Awards ceremony, honoring a variety of business owners and community leaders from the past year.
NOTE: This "It's Your Business" column by Chamber CEO Erin Predmore was published in the September 10, 2021 Bloomington Herald-Times.
In 2019, the Regional Opportunity Initiatives issued a Monroe County Quality of Place & Workforce Attraction Plan. The initiative hosted a series of focus groups to develop the plan, and one of the findings included this:
Minority residents do not feel the sense of welcoming community that Monroe County prides itself on. The legacy of the Ku Klux Klan in the region is remembered and felt today. Recruiters have trouble attracting diverse candidates to the region, to Monroe County and to Bloomington.
One focus group member noted that Monroe County “thinks it’s more progressive than it actually is.” Others pointed to the existence of a Black community that’s small with a strong identity and said they stay here for that reason.
The Greater Bloomington Chamber of Commerce welcomes Mary Lechner and Whitney Koelling from Indiana University's O'Neill School of Public and Environmental Affairs. Both Lechner and Koelling will be with the Chamber for two years. Lechner is the Vice Principal with the Chamber's Success School and working with Christopher Emge, Principal of the Success School. Koelling is the Public Policy Specialist for the Advocacy team and working with Mary Morgan, Director of Advocacy and Public Policy.
Mary Lechner is a first year MPA student at Indiana University's O'Neill School of Public and Environmental Affairs. She was born and raised in Indiana. Lechner attended Indiana University where she studied Sociology and Spanish. After graduating, Lechner served with AmeriCorps for two years as a college advisor for high school seniors where she worked with amazing students, many who were the first in their families to attend college. This experience fueled her passion in advocating for access to higher education and providing students with all the options and resources to be successful and pursue their passions.
You can find Lechner spending her free time running and cycling around Bloomington or reading at a local coffee shop.
Lechner is excited to partner with schools and meet the wonderful volunteers who make the work of the Success School possible.
Whitney Koelling joins the Chamber from Indiana University’s O’Neill School of Public and Environmental Affairs (SPEA) Masters of Public Affairs (MPA) program. She is a Paul D. Coverdell Fellow who is using her experience from her Peace Corps service in the remote Pacific Islands of Samoa to work as part of our Advocacy Team. After having spent an extended period of time overseas, she is happy to call Bloomington her new home.
Outside of work she loves to kayak on Lake Monroe, eat at many of Bloomington’s delicious local restaurants, and take her Rottweiler puppy to Switchyard Dog Park.
This blog contains press releases and other news updates from the Chamber.