Chamber announces 5-year plan for community growth

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CULLMAN – A project to formalize a community-wide strategic plan to guide the growth and development of the Cullman area is underway. The Cullman Area Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors and Chamber President & CEO, Leah Bolin are pleased to announce the launching of the Chamber’s new five-year strategic plan for the community.

After completing a comprehensive interview process with more than 100 area businesses and many area leaders to identify community needs and objectives, the Chamber and its partners have teamed up with a nationally renowned consulting firm, Funding Solutions, to launch the “Converging for Success: Together We Can Accomplish Everything” campaign, according to Bolin.

Texas-based Funding Solutions has a successful track record with numerous chambers in Alabama and assisted the Cullman Area Chamber in identifying five focused areas to compliment the work of other partners and to fill gaps in meeting community needs without duplication of efforts.

Through this plan, the Chamber, in collaboration with its 1,000 members, will utilize volunteers and fundraising to lead in five main areas:

  • Community Development
  • Existing Business Growth and Professional Business Sector Recruitment
  • Entrepreneurship and Education
  • Business and Community Advocacy
  • Tourism

“I am very excited about our new initiatives. The new plan defines the community’s priorities and lays the foundation for a successful capital campaign that will take us to new heights in excellence for the Cullman area. It will serve as a roadmap for the next five years.” Bolin said.

Cullman City Economic Development Agency Director Peggy Smith has agreed to take personal time away from the city of Cullman to serve as a campaign advisor. Initially, Smith will be working with the chamber board of directors, campaign team and chamber president to help lay out the action steps for the new five-year plan. Smith has spent a lifetime in the business recruitment, retention and community development arena.

“I am a firm believer in strategic plans. Visions are much easier to identify and communicate when everyone pools their talent and resources,” Smith said.

Cullman County, the City of Cullman, both the city and county school systems, Wallace State Community College and Cullman Regional Medical Center are actively working on plans for future growth. Using data from all those sources as well as others, will ensure our focus is on true community needs, according to Smith.

“I view this plan as a great opportunity for us to make a successful community event better,” said Smith.

A county-wide leadership team will provide the groundwork for our new programs. The campaign will be led by Jason Grimmett of Drinkard Development and Dr. Jeremy Stidham of Cullman Internal Medicine. A complete list of initiative chairs and our leadership team will be forthcoming in future media releases.

As the board progresses in executing the plan through the next year, chamber members as well as the community at large will be asked to provide input and suggestions through focus groups, committee involvement and surveys.

Each initiative has specific goals, and expected outcomes which will be shared with our chamber members and the community over the next few weeks. The plan will be a “living, breathing” document that can be modified as the community changes.