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Wetzel County Chamber of Commerce Holds Annual Meeting/Business After Hours

January 23, 2019
BY MADDISEN EIDEL - STAFF WRITER (MEIDEL@TYLERSTARNEWS.COM) , Wetzel Chronicle

The Wetzel County Chamber of Commerce simultaneously held its Annual Business Meeting with a Business After Hours event on Jan. 17. Starting at 5:30 p.m., food and refreshments were made available to all who were present. Soon thereafter, Wetzel County Chamber of Commerce President Don Riggenbach called the meeting to order, explaining that attendees would first hold the board of directors meeting.

Riggenbach gave all chamber members a chance to vote for the board of directors. Following this, the board approved the minutes regarding the previous meeting, which they had received through email before the meeting commenced. Riggenbach also presented the 2019 budgets and recommended approval. A motion to adopt these was made by the executive committee and was quickly passed.

In other business, Riggenbach explained the chamber's plan to support an upcoming electrician vocational training program. This program is following the success of a previous program involving welding classes. It was said that welding classes are currently being taken by a small group of juniors at Magnolia High School, and evening classes are offered for adults through West Virginia Northern Community College (WVNCC). After completion of this program and following an exam, certification is given, and these high schoolers have the opportunity to start work directly after graduation. Although it reportedly required a lot of hard work to open this program, they are now wanting to expand it beyond welding classes. It is their desire to begin an electrician, as well as a nursing training program.

The Wetzel County Chamber of Commerce supported the start-up of the welding program by donating $50,000. The chamber was able to do this as a result of the sale of property in southeast New Martinsville, and the chamber believes it was instrumental in the process of opening these classes. It is the chamber's desire to once again form a partnership to open an electrician vocational training program as data shows that welders, electricians, and truck drivers are in high demand. The chamber believes these jobs are not replaceable and will not fade away, and as a result these programs secure a permanent job for students.

Riggenbach was hoping to reserve up to $10,000 for this program from the chamber's economic development funds. Discussion was made on this subject, and one board member suggested that money is given, contingent on the program being open and running by September. It was also suggested that a percentage be chosen to determine of how much money the chamber will give. It was then decided that the Wetzel County Chamber of Commerce will pledge up to 50 percent - not to exceed $10,000 - to start the program, payable when the program is running. A motion was made to accept this plan, and it was carried.

Following this, Riggenbach announced that four businesses were seeking approval to join the Wetzel County Chamber of Commerce. These businesses were Jacksons Auto Repair and Towing, Nature By Choice LLC, Uncle Bunk's LLC, and Haught Heads Barbershop. All four businesses were accepted into the chamber after a vote was taken.

Riggenbach also announced that the chamber is active at "208 strong," which he said is phenomenal for a small area. He also took the time to thank those who visit chamber members and businesses and invited others to join in future visits. Information was then offered to the group in regards to the loans the chamber offers for small businesses that are more ideal for startup companies.

At that time, Riggenbach asked everyone to introduce themselves and what company they represent. There were many businesses in attendance including Grandma's House of Quilting, Community Bank, The Lighthouse Child Advocacy Center, Paden City Development Authority, Mark West Energy, Wetzel County Commission, Genesis Healthcare, WesBanco, Peoples Bank, WVNCC, Trademark Solutions, Cam Safety, Nature By Choice, and many more.

Following the introductions, Riggenbach welcomed everyone before presenting a slideshow made to review 2018 in regards to the chamber. It was reported that the chamber took in an average of four to five new members each month in 2018. Riggenbach explained that the chamber hosted many events, such as a Lunch and Learn Series - which taught various subjects, a Tyler and Wetzel County Breakfast, a Pay It Forward - in which money was given to a non-profit organization, and a Wetzel-Tyler Entrepreneur Pitch. The chamber also had six ribbon cutting ceremonies, eight business after hour functions, and held various community events like the Shortline Ramp Fest 5K. The biggest events held were those involving Christmas such as the Christmas Activities - in which 120 kids participated, the Christmas parade, and the Christmas decorating contest.

In the slideshow was also a financial report, and Riggenbach reminded members to pay their dues.

Those in attendance were then informed of the chamber's goals for the upcoming year. Riggenbach said the chamber is to continue with the aforementioned events and is going to continue to support the vocational programs previously discussed.

President Riggenbach thanked all the sponsors and those who have given grants for the continued support of events. He then told members that many businesses have already signed up to sponsor and informed that there is still time to join in sponsorship. He also told all present that the chamber is accepting volunteers who have a passion for their community and who are team-players. For more information, Riggenbach invited individuals to call 304-455-3825.

Immediately following the conclusion of the slideshow was a drawing for all members of the Wetzel County Chamber of Commerce. Then a silent auction took place, and prizes such as tickets to a Wheeling Nailers game were given.

All present seemed to enjoy the community atmosphere and the support presented by the chamber and its members. The next board of directors meeting will be held on Feb. 20 at 8 a.m.

 
 
 

 

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