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HRCC partners with local businesses

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The Huntington Regional Chamber of Commerce is a two-county chamber located in the downtown district of Huntington, West Virginia. Partnering with various local businesses, both big and small, President and CEO Bill Bissett said he and his team always work with the best interest of Huntington in mind.

Huntington is filled with a unique set of circumstances that set the area apart from others. The HRCC reflects that unique set of standards provided by the city, Bissett said.

“We represent more than 550 plus businesses that range from everything to very small mom and pop businesses to a Division I university, a regional healthcare system, numerous law firms, and a very diverse membership,” Bissett said. “We try to provide a voice for these people.”

Supplying a platform and advocating for local businesses, professionals and local happenings are only a few of the tasks carried out by the Chamber. Another large part of the Chamber’s duties is to support and put forth initiatives that target local economic growth.

Currently, the Chamber is working on a workforce development initiative. Becky Morgan, vice president and communications manager, said the chamber holds various events for local businessowners to “help them market their business through social media or new HR regulations that they need to be following. There is a continuous education (especially) for business owners.” Implementing growth in the area’s workforce is a main priority for the HRCC, Morgan said.

There are various other committees that the Chamber sponsors or is involved in first-hand, such as the Women to Women committee, Generation Huntington and Downtown Live. These promote and encourage the professional lives of people in the tri-state area through networking, community involvement and support from their fellow committee members, Morgan said. These committees also aim to help a common problem faced by the Chamber and the state alike, keeping and attracting young business people, Morgan said.

“Getting these young professionals engaged in the community is a way to help keep them here,” Morgan said.

There are also some initiatives the Chamber endorses that may look familiar to Marshall University students. One of those being the Open to All program set forth by the mayor of Huntington. Bissett and the Chamber are in full support of the campaign, he said

“When someone fills out an application to be in our Chamber there’s nothing about one’s race, religion, or anything like that,” Bissett said. “We want everyone to have the opportunities to do business here and live here.”

Marshall is a huge supplier for the HRCC and the city of Huntington, Bissett said, and Marshall students are a huge contributor and target for the chamber.

“To have a Division I university in walking distance of our chamber is a big deal,” Bissett said. “It gives us a tremendous advantage as well as an economic engine that helps a lot of our businesses do well.”

The Chamber has their hands in various groups, committees and initiatives, Bissett said, and with a plethora of connections and business contacts, the HRCC wants to facilitate and see the continuing growth of Huntington and surrounding areas. When it comes to the success of the city and the HRCC, Bissett said he believes a lot of solution lies in changing the perception of Appalachia.

“This is a good place to live and work,” Bissett said. “The only people who can really fix this place is us.”

Trey Delida can be contacted at [email protected]

 

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