Northern Palm Beach Chamber on a mission
By GERRY BARKER
North Palm Beach Life
"We are the unified voice of business, driving sustainable growth and prosperity."
That's the mission statement of the Northern Palm Beach County Chamber of Commerce, and no one pursues it with more passion than its Executive Vice President of Business Development and Community Relations, Rick Sartory.
Mr. Sartory, along with the chamber's Member Services Coordinator, Melanie Scherr, took time from their busy day to talk about the chamber, its mission and its priorities for 2016.
A veteran of the banking and commercial lending industry, Mr. Sartory is building on the legacy of his father, Larry, who in the 1980s headed the Chamber of Commerce of the Palm Beaches and also served as president of the Palm Beach Post's parent company, Palm Beach Newspapers Inc.
In his current role, challenges and opportunities abound around meeting the needs of almost 1,000 members representing 10 municipalities: Palm Beach Gardens, Jupiter, Juno Beach, North Palm Beach, Lake Park, Riviera Beach, Palm Beach Shores, Mangonia Park, Tequesta and Jupiter Inlet Colony.
"We look for projects that promote sustainable growth and prosperity for our members," Mr. Sartory said, "and hold ourselves accountable for the results." Underline, with special emphasis, on "accountable."
Mr. Sartory and Ms. Scherr are part of a nine-person chamber staff that offer their members over 100 different events every year, along with four larger productions: Artigras Fine Arts Festival; Jupiter Medical Center Loggerhead Triathlon, Palm Beach Gardens Medical Center Art Fest by the Sea and Art in the Gardens. If you visit the chamber office on PGA Blvd., you can admire original art from the these on the walls.
Among their 2016 initiatives that meet their mission of driving sustainable growth is a comprehensive training and certification program aimed at developing workforce skills for students in Riviera Beach, modeled after a similar logistics and transportation initiative in Jacksonville. Another effort Ms. Scherr -- a "Jersey Shore girl" who has adopted Florida's sun and sand -- said is still in the formative stages is a branding project that will focus on why Northern Palm Beach County is a great place to do business.
The chamber also wants to be the first stop for any new business in the 10 municipalities they serve. "When someone calls the city and asks what they need to do to start a business, we want the city to refer them to the chamber," Mr. Sartory said. While they serve businesses of all sizes, he noted over 80 percent of their membership has 20 employees or less.
Whether a project is big, like the proposed Avenir development in Palm Beach Gardens, or just meeting the needs of the stakeholders along the US 1 corridor, Sartory said the chamber can give "granular, street-corner support" where needed. Since they are plugged into government and legislative authorities at all levels, they are uniquely positioned to connect their membership the advice and help they need to grow and prosper.
Which equates to "mission statement accomplished."
For more information on the chamber, visit their recently relaunched website.
We look for projects that promote sustainable growth and prosperity for our members."