Dear Chamber Supporters:
I hope your New Year is going well…it seems to me when Christmas falls on Wednesday it generally makes for a prolonged holiday season – said differently a full 2 weeks with out-of-balance work schedules. It didn’t feel like New Year started officially until finally this week everyone was back in the office in full force…the break was great and we made sure everyone in the office had the advantage of several days off during the 2 weeks of back-to-back holiday celebrations.   
Today comes with a bit of sadness…this is Sydney’s last day. Sydney started at the Chamber in the fall of 2018 and immediately took over the weekly Chamber Newsletter and reformed our social media. Nothing much intimidates her and she is more than willing to roll her sleeves up and delve into any task. She became the Membership Director beginning in 2019 and (as I expected) embraced the new role. Sydney is a real team player and will be greatly missed. 
She’s not going far…only up the street to Lawrence where she will be doing online promotions for a company which sells furniture. That’s right in her wheelhouse…she did much of our promotions and ad development (especially for Legacy Square) since she has been here. We are going to miss her talents. Best of luck Sydney…Ottawa’s door is always open!!
2020 Chamber Officers & Board:
At the beginning of each New Year your Chamber transitions board members and officers…Pam Harris from AdventHealth Ottawa is now chair of the board. She takes over for Brian Goudreau (Kalmar) who has done an excellent job in leading the board this last year…Brian will continue to serve on the Exec Committee for all of 2020 before we let him retire. Longtime stalwart Carla Bienhoff (COF) officially stepped away from the board at the end of December…we will formally honor her (and other retiring board members) at the 2019 Annual Meeting on January 25. Carla has served on the board and/or Exec Committee since 2013. She has committed much of her personal time to make sure we are running smoothly…special thanks to Carla for her leadership!! 
Mallory Hull will be replacing Carla on the Exec Committee this year. The way we currently operate, members spend 2 years on the Exec Committee and then serve 1 year as Chair and 1 year as immediate Past-Chair. This method has served your organization well for a number of years ensuring good leadership and smooth transitions…I’m sure this year will be no different. 
New to the board this year will be Anna Bricker from American Eagle Outfitters…Anna is also a member of the current Leadership Franklin County class. Joining her will be Chris Lorman from Angels Care Home Health and Amy Welton from Bank Midwest. Here is a complete listing of the board for 2020. Ottawa has long been blessed with talented leaders willing to give time not only to the Chamber but many organizations in our community to work for the greater good of everyone. I look forward to working with these new board members for the next 3 years.
2019 Chamber Annual Meeting:
Speaking of annual meeting…it is coming right up. You can make a reservation for the January 25 evening celebration by clicking here…or just by calling the office (785.242.1000). In addition to saying thanks to Carla and other board members for their service we will also announce and recognize Franklin County’s top leaders for 2019. The Russel Crites Award it the highest honor followed by the Community Builder Award. I’m always impressed with the number of nominations which come in to honor different leaders in the community. It is not too late to nominate…you have until January 13 and can fill out a nomination form for a leader in your organization by clicking here
We are also getting great donations for our silent/live auction which takes place during the evening of festivities. Half the money raised goes to support local youth activities and charitable organizations here in our community…the other half goes for continuing education of Chamber staff. Already donated are a Bar-B-Q grill, television, several wine baskets, a Ring doorbell with video…and much more. If you or your organization has something to donate to the cause we will be happy to pick it up (email: [email protected] or call 785.242.1000). Nominate, donate and RSVP today…it won’t be a party without you!!!
Ottawa Recreation Commission:
Congratulations to Chad Bruner and his staff…the Ottawa Recreation Commission (ORC) was recently honored with the Better Sports for Kids Quality Program Provider designation by the National Alliance for Youth Sports. Earning the Better Sports for Kids Quality Program designation demonstrates that the Ottawa Recreation Commission has taken steps to ensure a safe, quality playing environment for children. The ORC has proven it meets key requirements in five categories:
  • Written Policies and Procedures
  • Volunteer Screening
  • Coach Training
  • Parent Education
  • Accountability of staff 
The ORC is only the 3rd agency in the state of Kansas, and the 101st in the world, to earn this distinction! FANTASTIC JOB!! The purpose of Ottawa Rec. is to improve and maintain the mental and physical health, happiness, and well-being of the citizens in and around the Ottawa school district…they accomplish this through a well-planned program of organized, constructive leisure activities. ORC hosted Chamber members at a coffee this morning (pictures here) to describe in detail their programming and the recognition they have just earned. Thanks ORC for all your commitment and great work…and also making us a healthier community!!
What a fun time to be a Chiefs fan…of course we’ve been here before and come away disappointed. Still, it is hard not to be excited about this group of players…the entire region is at fever pitch over this current team. There will be unique framed pictures of popular Chief players (yes…Patrick Mahomes is one of them) available for purchase at our Chamber auction on January 25…don’t miss this opportunity!! 
Also in honor of the playoffs Legacy Square has been turned to red, gold and white lighting at night. FYI…here is the best way to watch a Chiefs game!!
Crazy weather this week…and especially today. Be safe – I recommend staying inside and watching your favorite team or movie. Looks like we are in for some winter weather after spring all this week.
GO CHIEFS! – I will talk to you next week….
Onward ~ John 
John Coen
Ottawa Area Chamber of Commerce