The Chamber Celebrates its 50th Year of Service
Over 50 years ago, 19 business leaders in Livingston County had the foresight to establish an organization to “advance the commercial, industrial, civic, agriculture, recreational, government and general interests of its trade area.” On October 28, 1970, the Articles of Incorporation of the Livingston County Chamber of Commerce were filed with the County Clerk.
As we reflect on the past 50 years and the evolution of the Chamber, the legacy of these founding board members and the board members since, has been profound and fascinating. This first group of board members were instrumental in bringing I-390 through the County. Subsequent boards helped to found the county Industrial Development Agency and Local Development Corporation. They worked to have a building to house the Chamber constructed, they advocated for numerous business operations and entities and spent countless hours promoting, celebrating and recognizing business throughout Livingston County.
Over the past 50 years, the Chamber has seen significant changes and impacts in our county. In fact, while researching our history, we came across a hand-written letter from then Board Chair, Dean Johnston, who in 1994 writes, “CHANGE IS INEVITABLE. The important thing is how we handle and react to these events . . . the human race has a great instinct for survival – and Livingston County is a great place in which to survive.”
As we look ahead to the next 50 years, we start at a point of great struggle in our economy and a changing landscape due to the impacts of COVID-19. But as Dean’s letter also states, “we must try to help each other sort out the best avenue of change, try not to dwell on the negatives, accentuate the positives, and move ahead.”
We know the next steps will be delicate, but The Chamber will continue to assist and advocate – listen and learn – move and shake – and carry on the legacy of the great leaders that founded this organization in 1970.
We will continue to offer beneficial programming such as monthly Coffee Connections, Business Summits, The Taste of Livingston, The Matrimony Map, The Ice Cream CONEction, the Farmer Neighbor Event, LCEA Golf Tournament and our annual Business Excellence Awards. We will also challenge ourselves to address the needs of the business community and adapt to the virtual worlds of commerce and trainings.
“I take great pride in being the Chair of the Chamber Board of Directors during our 50th year of operation. The ability to help shape the future and navigate the present are details on which our board focuses, no different than our founding members,” stated current board chair Dawn Aprile. We hope that our legacy will be looked back upon with equally great favor 50 years from now.”
“As the Chamber’s third President & CEO, I truly appreciate the opportunity to guide the organization through its next chapter. The accomplishments of Steve Newvine and Cynthia Oswald are engrained in the organization and I am certainly proud be able to left my stamp on the Chamber through unique programming and efforts to grow business and create opportunities for our members to prosper,” stated current chamber president Laura Lane.
The Chamber is a membership-based organization that encourages partnerships both public and private, between businesses, the community, school districts and government. The Chamber also encourages businesses to support one another, an effort that has made an impact on the closeness of the business community.
This year marks the 50th anniversary of the Livingston County Area Chamber of Commerce. For the past five decades it has served as the voice of business in Livingston County, protecting and promoting commerce by partnering with community leaders and businesses of all sizes, collectively working to keep the community thriving, promoting business interests and the general welfare of the community. If you are interested in joining the Chamber, please contact Member Services Coordinator, Melissa Savino at (585) 243-2222.