The Chamber of Schenectady County officially kicked off the new year with its annual meeting and wrap party, announcing a redesigned website and its first-ever ambassador of the year.
Between cocktails and a catered dinner, about 200 business and community leaders gathered Tuesday evening inside the Mainstage at Proctors to look back at the chamber’s successes in 2012 and share several changes going into 2013.
“Tonight is a celebration of membership, of everything we as a group have accomplished in 2012,” said chamber President Chuck Steiner. “The quality of the business community here tonight is one of the reasons Schenectady is attracting new businesses to our county. We are tech-savvy and ready to work toward tomorrow’s changes. We’re building strong regional partnerships, assisting and attracting new businesses and putting programs into place to help them grow and keep them here.”
Chamber Senior Vice President Robin Granger unveiled a redesigned website (www.schenectadychamber.org) that has a sleeker interface and customized user experience. Chamber members can now log in and customize their own pages with logos, photos and video, as well as upload their latest deals and member-to-member discounts.
“I am absolutely thrilled with the interactiveness of this new site and can’t wait for all of you to go on and see what we have to offer,” she said.
Jeff Desnoyers, business development officer and branch manager at Troy-based Pioneer Bank, was the first to receive the title of Ambassador of the Year.
Chamber ambassadors play a large role behind the scenes — on a completely volunteer basis. They recruit new members, make phone calls, deliver new member packets and plaques, educate new members on the benefits of joining the chamber, and attend lots of grand openings and ribbon cuttings.
“They help the chamber champion Schenectady County and the surrounding region as a great place to live, to work, to play, to raise a family and grow a business,” said Scott Oswald, manager of the chamber’s membership development. “Chamber ambassadors put in many, many hours a month doing chamber work, and they are a great bunch of professionals to be involved with.”
In lieu of a trophy or a plaque, chamber officials will make a donation in Desnoyers’ name to a nonprofit group of his choosing.
Steiner also said goodbye to retiring board members Howard Foote, of UHY Advisors; Kathleen Hallion, of the Times Union; Jim Marini, of Bank of America; and Paola Horvath, of Star Event Marketing LLC, as well as retiring foundation board members Debra Pollard Perez, of Fenimore Asset Management, and Trudy Lehner, of SuperPower Inc.