Dear Chamber Supporters:
 
Sorry to be late today…this is only the third time I’ve missed the 1:00 Friday afternoon time for my newsletter going out (and one of those was technical difficulties). I’ve been on the road all week – just got home this afternoon and still want to get a quick note out.
 
Effective immediately!!! If you’ve been vaccinated…no more masks. Governor Kelly made the announcement yesterday following the same declaration by the CDC. Also…state government will completely reopen June 13. You still should wear masks where required by a business or healthcare facility. What a welcome relief…after a full year of masking and social distancing. 
 
I mentioned I’ve been traveling all this week…two different conferences – both in Missouri. The first was a conference of Chamber Execs from Missouri, Arkansas, Kansas and Oklahoma (called MAKO) in Branson. At this meeting, if you were vaccinated, you were given a sticker saying so and didn’t need to wear a mask (although a few did). The second meeting was at a ranch resort in Amoret, Missouri, and was an AdventHealth Regional strategic planning meeting, all had been vaccinated…so no masks. I can’t tell you what a relief it was to be around others all week, feel free and welcoming again…and, just see people smiling and enjoy their faces!! 
 
Rain or Shine:
 
Tomorrow is the Flea, Junk and Trunk in Legacy Square…rain or shine! Although the forecast isn’t promising, we are hoping for no downpours…and hoping the covering at Legacy Square will make the difference. We are approaching 50 vendors coming and several food trucks to be on hand…also live music. It should be a fun day. Also…Main Street business will be open and participating too. Here is a list of downtown merchants who plan to have displays and specials to entice you into the downtown. Also…now you don’t have to wear a mask – so come just to get out and see everyone. A little rain never hurt anyone!!
 
2020 Annual Awards:
 
Today is the deadline for nominations for our community leader awards for 2020…but – I promise if you send them to me over the weekend they will be included in the evaluation by the selection committee. Here is the link to the nomination forms…also the RSVPs to attend the luncheon are due a week from today…here is the link to sign up to come. Scheduled for May 26, in previous years we always recognized our leaders at our annual banquet…unable to hold the ceremony in January, we still do not want to miss saying “good job” to those who “leaned in” during the COVID pandemic. 
 
MAKO:
 
I mentioned MAKO is a conference which stands for Missouri, Arkansas, Kansas and Oklahoma…I was at Branson the first half of the week involved in continuing education, but mostly enjoying renewing old friendships and seeing those who I’ve only seen and talked to on Zoom for the last year. There were many war stories regarding the pandemic from communities and Chambers all over the region. I attended a session regarding what we learned from the national shut down…how things will be the same and, at the same time how they will be different on an ongoing basis. It was acknowledged by most we all learned to Zoom and became capable of working from home…but at the end of the day, the Chamber business is a people business. And…our members, the community businesses which make up Chambers, are the lifeblood of our communities. Most admitted there was no template for navigating the shutdown…and mostly, we made it up as we went along. Our nation and individual communities have survived tragedies before…and we will survive this. Hopefully we learned lessons which will make us more agile as a society in the future…more capable of coping and adapting. I know I certainly have!
 
AdventHealth Ottawa:
 
I had an amazing opportunity to participate in a regional strategic planning session for AdventHealth. The AdventHealth Ottawa board joined with the AdventHealth Shawnee Mission and AdventHealth Overland Park South boards to talk about the status of healthcare and position each of our respective institutions for 2030. First of all, just a little perspective. I was appointed in the late 1980s to participate on Governor Bill Graves “Vision 2000 Committee”…at the time it sounded far, far into the future. So being in a 2030 planning session does not seem so extreme given my advantage of advanced age and knowledge of how fast the future gets here! 
 
The first part of the retreat was learning the state of healthcare in the nation. 
  • We are the only nation in which health insurance is primarily dependent upon employment. 
  •  33% of all COVID victims are now experiencing some form of depression or psychological dysfunction.
  • Physician and nurse burn-out is on the increase;
  • And…the cost of healthcare is not sustainable.
 
The next part of our discussion involved the AdventHealth company and where they are positioned as a corporate organization going into the future. Let me say this…it was very fortuitous we affiliated with a large healthcare organization when we did! It is literally the difference of our community hospital surviving the COVID pandemic…or inevitably shutting down. We are now situated to go into the future still providing the best possible healthcare…at home – in Ottawa!
 
Lastly, we were challenged as individual boards to capture an opportunity or neutralize a threat which will strengthen our organizations going into the future. As the board of your local institution, we collectively identified several specific areas on which our admin team should focus:
  • Adding accretive services (services which bring value).
  •  Expanding our service area.
  • Increasing our network providers; and,
  • Reducing outmigration of Franklin County residents.
 
All-in-all we had great discussions…I have great confidence in our team leaders at the hospital. We will be driven by our mission to provide holistic care to all people and be known as a preeminent, faith-based, consumer focused clinical-care facility. AdventHealth Ottawa is positioned to go far into the future providing first-class healthcare to the citizens of Franklin County.
 
It is good to get home this afternoon after a week of travel. I’m looking forward to greeting many friends tomorrow at the Flea, Junk & Trunk…hoping you are among them!! It will be a fun day in downtown Ottawa…I’ll be sure to have a few pictures next week!
 
See you tomorrow…
 
Onward ~ John 
 
John Coen
President/CEO
Ottawa Area Chamber of Commerce
785-242-1000