The June luncheon for Leduc's Regional Chamber of Commerce got off to a very positive start by announcing that fourteen new members were welcomed as Chamber members for the month of May. This means the Leduc Chamber has now grown to hold approximately 670 member businesses. This is a truly amazing number for a City of 25,000 people. It just goes to show what a dedicated, professional, yet fun loving staff, and hard working board members can do to promote this great area to businesses.
Another sign that our popular City just keeps on growing and thriving was introduced by Mayor Krischke in the form of the new City Guide magazine for Leduc. Formerly, in conjunction with the Leduc Rep, twice yearly the City put out their Programs & Activity Guide outlining the classes being held at the LRC. With the increase in classes and specialized sessions now offered at the LRC as well as City sponsored events throughout the year around Leduc, the City has now taken over sole production of this magazine and it will now be published quarterly, with the first edition being the Summer 2013 City Guide currently in circulation.
After this announcement the guest speaker for June's luncheon, Mr. Greg Christenson, owner and President of Christenson Developments took to the stage. Mr. Christenson gave a fast paced presentational overview of the numerous ways that housing developers can benefit a community with their varied products from single family homes to senior's complexes.
Mr. Christenson was also rightly proud of the many endowments, charities, sports teams and related events that his company sponsors. "I believe it's a symbiotic relationship." said Mr. Christenson. "Large sporting events transcend regional boundaries and that is why we need to focus on drawing world class events to this area. The marriage between business, sports, and charity is an important one, and one in which everyone wins."
At the end of Mr. Christenson's presentation he invited the V.P. of Sales and Business Development for the Edmonton Eskimos, Mr. Greg Treble up to the stage to say a few words.
Mr. Treble echoed the sentiment that "It's important that sports, community, and business thrive together. This is why we find it very important that our players stay involved in the community and the Eskimos made over 245 player appearances in Northern Alberta last year."
Mr. Treble explained that through corporate sponsorship tickets to an Eskimos game remain the most affordable major sports event to attend for families.
He also pointed out that the team has had a great off-season this year due to the recent changes made within the organization. He then teased the crowd by reminding them that the Eskimos play Saskatchewan in their season opener on June 29th and he wanted to invite all Albertans out to make sure we outnumber the "watermelon heads" in the crowd since, as he pointed out, "It is OUR stadium!" Which was received by quite a bit of laughter and some applause from the audience.
Once Mr. Treble took his seat the luncheon took on a definite air of sadness as official goodbyes were given to four well liked and established members of our community.
Cindy Guy, president of the Leduc Regional Chamber of Commerce was the first to take the stage to announce that the Chamber's Executive Director, Stefanie Schulz, would be leaving her position in the middle of July to join her husband on a work transfer to Australia for three years. Fighting back tears, Cindy spoke on the differences that Stefanie had made during her time as E.D. and the relationships she had forged both professionally and personally to promote this area. Cindy talked of how the Chamber had grown to almost 670 members under Stefanie's capable direction and that the Chamber team had practically turned into a second family during her time there. Stefanie was then presented with a bouquet of flowers and was visibly touched as she took a moment to express her gratitude to her team and to everyone in the Leduc area for truly making this place her home and entrusting her with a position that she loved coming to work at every day.
Stefanie then took the opportunity to remove the spotlight from herself as she announced another upcoming change in the local landscape with the departure of the Leduc Rep's Editor Michelle Clarke. Michelle is also leaving her post due to her husband's work commitments which will be taking them to Manitoba in August. Stefanie joked "What's up with these men? It's all their fault!" before reading a touching tribute to Michelle written by her staff.
The third farewell of the day began with a laugh as Stefanie introduced Pastor Grant McDowell onto the stage as "A man I always secretly had a crush on!" Pastor McDowell handled the introduction with his usual grace and style by saying (with a big smile) "Well, that's the first time I've been introduced that way!" It was then announced that Pastor McDowell and his wife Donna, after leading the Leduc Alliance Church for the past 27 years, had accepted a position as head pastor at the Alliance Church in Cranbrook BC. Their move is also a quick one with a departure date around the middle of July.
Pastor McDowell has been a huge part of this community over the years in his pastoral capacity but he has also been very active within the business community in Leduc by being a past President of the Leduc Regional Chamber of Commerce, and beginning a workplace related ministry called Faith 9 to 5, amongst many other things.
In a touching gesture Stefanie suggested that anyone who wanted to personally say goodbye to Pastor McDowell could take the single rose from the centrepiece on each table and present it to him with their well wishes, and he could then take the roses home and give them to his wife Donna. By the time the luncheon was over and Pastor McDowell was leaving he had a huge bouquet of roses to take home with him.
The final goodbye of the day was from an entirely unexpected corner and almost everyone in the room was caught by surprise. City Councillor Dominic Mishio took to the stage to announce that not only would he not be running for Council again in the upcoming election but that his personal work commitments as the Executive Director of the Global Poverty Project would require that he and his wife move to Toronto this November.
The luncheon did manage to end on a high note though as the final order of business was the presentation of a cheque from the Leduc ATB's branch Manager Steve Greene, to Lorraine a Popik of the Black Gold Health Foundation for a total of $1,616.90. Half of these funds were raised through the BGHF's penny drive and the other half was matched by the Leduc ATB branch. The funds will be spread around to the areas of greatest need within the projects that the BGHF are currently working on.
The Leduc Regional Chamber of Commerce will now be taking their usual summer hiatus from their luncheons through the months of July and August and they will be resuming again come the first Friday in September. For all your up to date Chamber news over the warm months please refer to their website at www.leduc-chamber.com, and until then we'll see you in the fall!