As we head into 2018, the Greater Federal Way Chamber of Commerce is fulfilling the strategic direction set by the Board of Directors four years ago — to develop an industry-aligned program of work that supports the growth of our business base and promotes regional economic prosperity in the Seattle-Tacoma business corridor.
The chamber continues to provide programs, benefits and services that allow our members to connect with each other and to the marketplace in order to grow their businesses. Our strategic focus to grow and diversify opportunities is recognized in our strong and stable membership. Since 2014, the chamber has moved its retention rate from 60 percent to 84 percent and is now within the national average for chambers of our budget and size.
Our advocacy efforts continue to address issues and bring information to business leaders. Chamber round tables, for example, gather leaders to discuss civic priorities and community initiatives throughout the year. Over the course of the last three years, these round tables have provided a deeper look at a range of topics, including South King Fire & Rescue’s strategic plan, the Federal Way school district’s facilities bond, Sound Transit Light Rail/Federal Way Link Extension, Safe City Federal Way, the King County growth plan and many others.
Each year, the board reviews top civic issues impacting economic development for our region. Our strategic direction remains focused on transportation, education and workforce, as well as the overall business climate. In addition to setting legislative priorities in these core areas, our program of work is designed to promote business growth and strengthen the leadership networks within the greater Federal Way region.
This year, we are looking to the future with our Vision 2025 initiative as the businesses prepare to face challenges on the economic horizon. The changing talent pool, shifting populations, technological infrastructure and global impacts are issues for which we want to be prepared. The chamber also understands that business success is built on relationships with our clients, our customers. For those relationships to thrive, we need a strong, welcoming business network. The best way to invest in that business community is through the Chamber of Commerce.
For 65 years, this chamber has known that community alignment serves as the foundation of economic vitality. Business, education, government all working together — each to their own core strength — for the greater, long-term good of all is how we partner for success. As business leaders, we know that a sustainable community, built on the creation of living-wage jobs, is an economic development strategy that requires the voice of business. For the chamber, it is a privilege to represent that voice. We look forward to building a better future with you in 2018.
Mark Sims, of New York Life, is the Greater Federal Way Chamber of Commerce Executive Committee Board chair. Written on behalf of the Board of Directors of the Greater Federal Way Chamber of Commerce, and the Executive Committee, Kabal Gill, Chair Elect, East India Grill; Krista Christensen, Vice Chair, Virginia Mason; Michael Gintz, Treasurer, Brantley, Janson, Yost & Ellison; and Kim Zier, Immediate Past President, Caffé D’arte.