This year is bringing about big changes to the Pasco Chamber of Commerce. As the area’s oldest business advocacy organization in the Tri-Cities, the Pasco Chamber has adapted to changes over the years to continue serving the community.
One major change you’ll see in 2015 is our office location. The Pasco Chamber of Commerce and its board of directors have for years recognized how underutilized the Pasco riverfront is. For decades, past leaders of the chamber such as Ed Hendler, Mark Pence and Fred Ackerman, to name a few, had a vision and made great strides to further enhance this Pasco resource. This vision has influenced the Pasco Chamber to seek opportunities to continue the effort. To that end, we’ve committed to the development of Pasco’s waterfront by residing at Osprey Pointe by late this spring, home of the Port of Pasco’s flagship building.
The Pasco Chamber board of directors is focusing on the future growth of our association under the leadership of 2014-15 Board President Derrel Ebert, general manager of the Tri-City Dust Devils. We will continue our mission to promote trade and industry, provide jobs and to make Pasco a great community to live, work and play. There is no better way to prepare for the future than to have representation from generations X, Y and millennials — and a look at our board of directors reflects the generational diversity that makes up the Greater Pasco Area.
Last November, we rolled out a new event: The Barn Burner presented by Gesa Credit Union. This “Bounty of the Basin Celebration” gave recognition the area’s economic driver: ag. More than 1,000 turned out for the event and experienced the Smoke-N-Fire BBQ competition, live music from Lace & Lead and Frog Hollow Band, and enjoyed a good old-fashioned BBQ and party hosted by the Franklin County Farm Bureau. The Barn Burner fits nicely within the Tri-Cities’ branding effort and provides another event that makes this area bolder, brighter and better!
We jumped right into 2015 with a successful and sold-out Real Ag Show and Convention held at the TRAC center. More than 2,000 visitors and agriculture industry representatives showcased new products and advancements in the agribusiness industry. Attendees took advantage of earning valuable credits for their pesticide applicator licenses. Thank you to Les Schwab Tires for their continued support of the Real Ag Show. A couple of weeks later, the Agriculture Hall of Fame Banquet honored four deserving individuals crucial to the agricultural industry of the Mid-Columbia area. The evening honored Leo and Dorothy Fangman (Pioneer Award recipient), Jennifer Yochum (Advisor of the Year), Nicole Berg (Agribusiness Woman of the Year), and Visionary Award recipient Gary Middleton. Congratulations to all the honorees, and thank you to the Port of Pasco for supporting this event.
Upcoming events include the fourth annual Sagebrush Scramble presented by Dura-Shine Clean at Sun Willows Golf Course in June. In the fall, our annual Sunshine Meeting will take place.
Our major focus in 2015 will be economic development for the Greater Pasco Area. Our economic development committee, in conjunction with our community partners, will be leading a project to write the future chapter of economic development for Pasco. The last time such an effort was put together, the Pasco Processing Center was created more than 20 years ago. We are hopeful for continued economic success from this mission.
With all these changes over the past year, the chamber’s unique, friendly and personable character remains a constant at our monthly luncheons where everyone gets to know your name. More than 100 years ago, the Pasco Chamber was created to promote and advocate for economic development fostering businesses that are responsible for creating jobs that fuel our economy, to embrace free enterprise, and to make Pasco such a great place to live.