The Los Alamos Chamber of Commerce is the membership program of the Los Alamos Commerce and Development Corporation. Our mission as stated in the by-laws of LACDC is “to encourage and assist our members in achieving their full economic potential for the benefit of themselves and of the entire community. The Los Alamos Chamber of Commerce, as an effective leader, strives to strengthen economic viability within Los Alamos by actively representing, promoting and defending business interests.”
We are authorized to collect membership dues, upon approval of the LACDC board, and call membership meetings as necessary. The Executive Director of the LACDC currently serves as the Executive Director of the Chamber. The Chamber receives support from LACDC by way of the business office and management, and we share costs with LACDC’s other functions for things like office supplies, space, maintenance, network and phones.
We offer member benefits in the areas of visibility, resources and advocacy. The visibility comes in the form of events (like Chamberfest and Trick or Treat on Main Street), web presence (the traffic catcher pages and websites like losalamoschamber.com and FYILosAlamos.com) and networking opportunities like the business after hours FAN Clubs, the lunch networking FAN44s, ribbon cuttings, grand openings, anniversary celebrations) and our publications – this MYB newsletter and the Essence, which features Chamber members.
Resources are such things as workshops on various topics such as health insurance, the educational business breakfasts, and use of our bulk mail service and conference rooms.
In recent months we have advocated on behalf of the Valles Caldera, on behalf of lab subcontractors, on behalf of retail tenants working with landlords, on White Rock improvements and in regards to misperceptions of County planning and permitting processes.
There is currently no crisis situation at the Chamber- membership is growing slowly but steadily, dues have not increased in several years, we’ve had an office in the same location for several years, and the credibility of the Chamber has increased steadily in the community- I can tell, because more people call asking me to weigh in on issues, or to provide assistance in using our resources. We have a great team working here- every person I work with is smart and accomplished. Two years ago I made a proposal to the board to raise dues, and it was not approved, because board members felt that it would be wrong to raise dues during a recession. We are unique in the State, in that our membership grows while other Chambers struggle and combine forces.
Call for Input
It is precisely because there is no crisis that I’m asking for your help in making the Chamber the best it can be. I put out a call for assistance in last month’s Chamber newsletter, and I’ve had some great people step up- one who volunteered to help look at the by-laws, one who has both Chamber and marketing expertise, and one who comes from the manufacturing sector and who is most interested in supporting start-ups. Thank you for volunteering!
What I’d like to explore with these people and others who may want to provide some input:
- How is Chamber membership valuable to the members?
- Is our dues structure current and affordable?
- Are we as accessible to our members as we ought to be?
- Do we communicate enough or too much with the members?
- Do our member benefits need to be brought up to date?
- Should we have a separate Chamber board of directors from LACDC, should there be overlap with the LACDC’s board, or should it be an advisory panel or committee?
- Should we have a separate Executive Director?
I’ll be sending out a survey during the early part of October to assess the membership’s feeling about those questions, and I’ll have an open-ended comment box for members to add other comments that might be helpful. If you want to volunteer to provide help, I promise that we’ll have no more than three meetings (well, maybe more if we’re enjoying it a lot), so I won’t take up too much of your time.
Call me! Katy Korkos, 661-4816