The Greater Bloomington Chamber of Commerce is excited to announce that Kaytee Lorentzen, a dedicated professional with an extensive background in marketing and communications, has been named the new Director of Communications & Events. In her expanded role, Lorentzen will focus on executing strategies that will strengthen the Chamber's visibility, influence, and impact in the community.
“Taking on the role of Director of Communications & Events is an exciting step for me," said Lorentzen. "I’m committed to building on what we’ve achieved at the Chamber, both in our events and our outreach. We have a great foundation, and I’m eager to contribute to our next chapter."
Since joining the Chamber in 2021, Lorentzen served as the Marketing & Communications Coordinator then as Marketing & Communications Manager earlier this year. Prior to working at the Chamber, her photography business was a Chamber member from 2016-2020. Lorentzen holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism with a concentration in photography from Ball State University. She is currently pursuing her master’s degree in communications at Purdue University and expected to graduate this spring with a concentration in public relations and advertising along with a certificate in strategic communications management. In addition, Lorentzen is a graduate of the Indiana Chamber Executives Association’s Hoosier Chamber Academy.
“Kaytee Lorentzen has distinguished herself as a high-impact and valued resource to the Chamber and the members we serve,” said Chamber President and CEO Eric Spoonmore. “She is the perfect fit to lead the Chamber’s strategic communications, marketing initiatives, and event performance.”
Lorentzen’s new assignment with the Chamber is effective September 1st.
The Greater Bloomington Chamber of Commerce announced the individuals and organizations that will be honored at this year’s 108th Annual Meeting & Community Awards celebration. The award ceremony will be held on Thursday, September 7th, 2023, at the Monroe Convention Center. At the Annual Meeting, the Chamber’s President & CEO, Eric Spoonmore, will provide a year in review, highlighting accomplishments and member news with attendees, as well as sharing future plans. The Chamber will also recognize and honor several members who have been nominated for a variety of awards.
This year’s awards and winners are:
“The Chamber is delighted to celebrate the extraordinary achievements of these businesses and individuals,” said Eric Spoonmore, President & CEO of The Greater Bloomington Chamber of Commerce. “Their notable contributions to our community represent the best of Bloomington and Monroe County and exemplify the core values of the Chamber.”
Along with the annual meeting and awards presentation, the ceremonial "Passing of the Gavel" will occur as the outgoing board chair steps aside for the new leadership, and both individuals address the crowd.
The 108th Annual Meeting & Community Awards celebration will include time to network among attendees prior to the annual meeting and awards presentation. The event will begin at 11:00a.m. and conclude at 1:00p.m. For more information about the 108th Annual Meeting & Community Awards, contact The Chamber at (812) 336‐3681 or visit The Chamber’s website at ChamberBloomington.org.
Greater Bloomington Chamber of Commerce President & CEO Eric Spoonmore spoke today in favor of the Monroe County Commissioners’ historic vote to establish a Capital Improvement Board (CIB) to facilitate and manage the long-awaited Monroe Convention Center expansion project.
“The Chamber is 100% in support of forming the Capital Improvement Board,” Spoonmore said prior to the vote. “We thank the county commissioners for their leadership. This CIB is a momentous step toward achieving substantive progress on this important project in our community,” he continued.
The newly formed CIB will be composed of seven appointed members. Two appointments will be made by the mayor of Bloomington, two appointments will be made by the county commissioners, one appointment will be made by the county council, and one appointment will be made by the Bloomington city council. Those six appointees will vote to select the seventh member of the CIB.
The Greater Bloomington Chamber of Commerce is seeking nominations for six awards that recognize and honor individuals, businesses and organizations that have distinguished themselves through outstanding volunteerism, accomplishments and contributions in the community. The awards will be presented at The Chamber’s Annual Meeting on Thursday, September 7, 2023.
Anyone in the community may submit nominations. The forms are available by visiting www.ChamberBloomington.org or by contacting The Chamber at 812-336-6381 or info@ChamberBloomington.org. The deadline for submissions is Monday, July 24th at 5:00 p.m.
PRESS RELEASE: Katie Sensabaugh Named Director of the Chamber’s Foundation & Internal Operations for Bloomington Chamber
Katie Sensabaugh was recently named the Director of the Chamber’s Foundation & Internal Operations for the Greater Bloomington Chamber of Commerce. She will continue her role in the Success School, a division of the Chamber’s foundation working with community partners in both the education and business sectors of Monroe County to develop strong relationships with the students, teachers, and employers to positively impact the emerging talent and future workforce of our community. Sensabaugh will also oversee all financial activities, and its foundation.
“I am thrilled to continue my work at the Chamber as the Director of the Chamber’s Foundation & Internal Operations,” said Sensabaugh. I look forward to furthering the goals and missions of both the Chamber and its Foundation through effective programming and strong fiscal management.”
Since joining the Chamber in 2021, Sensabaugh served as the Director of the Success School, and Membership Services Coordinator. She currently also serves as Chamber staff liaison to the Bloomington Women in Leadership group and Young Professionals Bloomington group. Sensabaugh’s previous roles include Program Director at Big Brothers Bigs Sisters of Northwest Ohio, Gemologist and Jewelry Designer for an independent jewelry store, and manager of a retail clothing store. She was recognized for her efforts to develop lasting professional relationships and provide excellent volunteer management and customer service to her clients. Sensabaugh received a bachelor’s degree from Bowling Green State University and a Certificate in Business Administration from Ivy Tech Community College-Bloomington.
“Katie Sensabaugh continues to add value to our organization and the members we serve,” said Chamber President and CEO Eric Spoonmore. “She is the perfect fit to manage our internal operations while also advancing the Chamber’s Foundation and Success School programming to new levels.”
Sensabaugh’s new assignment with the Chamber was effective April 1.
The Greater Bloomington Chamber of Commerce has announced the five Women Excel Bloomington (WEB) 2023 award winners. These local women were chosen based on their outstanding leadership, business acumen, entrepreneurship, and community involvement. The 13th Annual WEB Awards cocktail reception and celebration will be held on Thursday, June 1, from 5:30 – 8:00 pm at Indiana University’s Henke Hall of Champions inside the Indiana Memorial Stadium.
Those to be honored at the 2023 Women Excel Bloomington award winners are:
“Our community is so fortunate to benefit from the leadership and involvement of these five award-winning women,” said Greater Bloomington Chamber of Commerce President & CEO Eric Spoonmore. “It is an honor to recognize the dedication and hard work of local women who have gone above and beyond to lead and serve in the greater Bloomington community.”
This event is possible because of support from sponsors, including: Cassady Electric, Cook Group, Old National Bank, Ruoff Mortgage, Indiana University, WBWB/WHCC, First Financial Bank, Develefy Consulting, ForthPhaze Technology, Inc., Nature’s Way, CFC Properties, Choice Realty, German American Bank, ISU/The May Agency, Ivy Tech Community College-Bloomington, Smithville, The Herald-Times, and The Monroe County YMCA.
To learn more about the 2023 WEB Awards, please visit The Chamber’s website at www.ChamberBloomington.org or call the Chamber at (812) 336-6381.
On Wednesday, January 18, Greater Bloomington Chamber of Commerce President Eric Spoonmore addressed the Bloomington Common Council to express deep concern about numerous violent crimes that have occurred in the community over the past several weeks and months including rape, stabbings, shootings, attempted murders, and murders among other egregious acts.
The Chamber fully supports the law enforcement agencies that make many sacrifices each day to protect and serve our city, working tirelessly around the clock to keep residents and businesses safe. The Chamber also recognizes that the Bloomington Police Department (BPD) is experiencing a significant shortage of police officers, which only exacerbates current public safety challenges for both BPD and the community.
Given the rash of troubling incidents, the Chamber encourages elected leaders to act with the highest level of urgency to address the current police officer shortage and ensure that our highly skilled police department has all the personnel and resources needed to meet its critical mission to the community.
“Safety always comes first, and the optimum levels of public safety can only be achieved for our community when we have a fully staffed police department,” said Spoonmore. “We have excellent police officers, but we need about 25 more of them. It’s our highly skilled team of officers that so often make the difference.”
Spoonmore also noted that elevating police staffing to the necessary levels should be the community’s top public safety priority. “City leaders have demonstrated they can ambitiously pursue innovative initiatives city-wide, including the new gigabit fiber infrastructure project and dramatic decreases to carbon emissions. I am confident that we can also aggressively solve the police shortage with that same spirit of innovation and ambition,” Spoonmore said.
Greater Bloomington Chamber of Commerce President & CEO Eric Spoonmore announced today that the Chamber is backing a plan that involves a newly created Capital Improvement Board (CIB) to manage the Monroe Convention Center expansion project. The Chamber urges elected leaders to swiftly accept the proposal and appoint members to serve on the CIB as soon as possible.
“The Chamber closely examined the various governance proposals submitted by City and County leaders, and we agree that the community’s interest is best served by a CIB that will oversee the expansion and related construction activities of the convention center,” said Spoonmore.
Over the past year, the Chamber along with other local economic development organizations has urged elected leaders to take quick action on the expansion plans to avoid a sunset of the Monroe County Food & Beverage Tax funding mechanism by the State Legislature in its upcoming 2023 session.
“Time is truly of the essence to get this done. We hope all parties can agree to the CIB governance plan as it stands. Taxpayers have been paying the Food and Beverage tax for five years with no tangible results. It is time to deliver on the promise of an expanded, world-class convention center here in Bloomington,” said Spoonmore.
County Commissioners took a step forward on the expansion plans by enacting a CIB in November. The CIB is fully accountable to the public and established in accordance with state statute. The County Council unanimously favors the CIB plan, but it requires City leaders to agree by January 1, 2023. The City Council is expected to discuss the CIB proposal at its next meeting on December 14.
PRESS RELEASE: The Greater Bloomington Chamber of Commerce Community Conversation on Justice Reform to be held on Tuesday, November 15th
The Greater Bloomington Chamber of Commerce is inviting interested parties for lunch and conversation on Justice Reform on Tuesday, November 15th at the Elks Lodge located at 400 N. Walnut St. in Bloomington.
“This important discussion will inform the public on the many complexities of our local system of criminal justice including the need for a new jail facility in Monroe County,” said Eric Spoonmore, the Chamber’s President & CEO.
What Justice Reform Entails. There will need to be a new justice center to replace the one built in 1985. According to the 2020 Criminal Justice & Incarceration Study conducted by the RJS Justice Services, “The jail facility is failing and cannot ensure consistent and sustainable provision of constitutional rights of incarcerated persons. The report goes on to declare, “daily inmate population exceeded the jail’s functional capacity on most days since 2004 and all days per year consecutively since 2015.” Beyond the new justice center, the study reveals that 75-80% of the daily 250-320 inmates have some sort of mental illness or substance abuse issue. The current facility does not have the space nor the staff of mental health professionals to address this issue.
PRESS RELEASE: Chamber of Commerce, Community Await Commissioners’ Response to Convention Center Proposal
The Greater Bloomington Chamber of Commerce along with numerous community partners plan to attend the Monroe County Commissioners’ work session on Wednesday, August 31 to discuss a pathway forward for the expansion of the Monroe Convention Center. The Commissioners’ work session will begin at noon in the Monroe County Courthouse, Nat U Hill Room.
“We are anxiously awaiting the County Commissioners’ response to the City of Bloomington’s proposal to acquire the Monroe Convention Center and begin moving forward on expansion,” said Greater Bloomington Chamber of Commerce President Eric Spoonmore. “We are very pleased that the County Commissioners invited City representatives to their meeting for this important discussion.”
The Chamber of Commerce, City of Bloomington representatives, and local hospitality & tourism leaders will be present at the work session to advocate for a pathway forward on the convention center expansion project. The long-delayed project was supposed to be funded by a local food and beverage tax that passed in 2017. Since then, the tax has generated over $15M in revenue, but the project has seen no progress to date.
“The lack of any meaningful progress on the expansion is deeply concerning because it could put the future of the food and beverage tax funding mechanism in jeopardy by the State Legislature during its 2023 legislative session,” said Spoonmore. “Time is of the essence, and the Commissioners’ teamwork in this process is critical to achieving a successful outcome for the community.”
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