Chamber of Commerce welcomes changes

There were several changes for the Ponoka and District Chamber of Commerce this year

Mayor Larry Henkelman congratulates Jim Hamilton as the new president of the Ponoka and District Chamber of Commerce Jan. 15 during the chamber’s annual general meeting.

Mayor Larry Henkelman congratulates Jim Hamilton as the new president of the Ponoka and District Chamber of Commerce Jan. 15 during the chamber’s annual general meeting.

There were several changes for the Ponoka and District Chamber of Commerce this year; not only in its board of directors but also in its executive manager.

Members of the chamber met Jan. 15 to elect a new president and vice-president, as well as a new treasurer. Past president Greg Braat completed his two years in the position and he made way for incoming president Jim Hamilton.

Braat gave a recap of 2012 to members. “This year we really tried to get some more programs out…We want you to help us bring quality content to you.”

Some of the programs included presentations to members, the trade fair, Almost Midnight Madness along with the Passport to Christmas promotion and even the town wide garage sale. He thanked the members for their support in each of those events.

He took time to thank executive manager Lana Johnson for her work with the chamber and wished her luck as she is stepping down from the role. “Thank you very much for all the help you’ve given me and the members of the chamber.”

The past president also welcomed Les Jaster who takes over as executive manager soon. Another change came from Linda Steinmann who stepped down as chamber treasurer. She said there was approximately $3,000 spent on programs presented over the course of the year. She suggested members should come forward with their ideas promoting the chamber. “Step up to the plate, help out, make sure it happens and also make sure that the executive knows what it is you want.”

Steinmann feels the budget is an ideal way to get some ideas for other programs and advises members help each other out.

“On the other hand it needs every one of you to support the chamber in the way that they spend their money,” she stated.

Pam Baron has volunteered for the role of treasurer and despite being slightly nervous, takes some advice from Steinmann. “You have to do your due diligence and keep an eye on things.”

A positive working relationship between the manager and the treasurer is important, she advised.

“It will just be a new experience,” stated Baron.

New president Jim Hamilton is excited with his new role. He is proud of the work the chamber has done in recent years and looks forward to continuing with the chamber-hosted events such as the trade fair.

He plans to work closely with the new executive manager. “It will be a learning curve with Les Jaster coming on.”

Braat looked back at his service and gave a few words for Hamilton.

“I think the key to being a good president is listening and responding to members.”

He feels Hamilton is ideal for this position and was grateful to serve in that capacity for two years. “We had a hard working executive.”

Mayor Larry Henkelman swore in the new officers and thanked previous officers for their work. “We hope you have another successful year.”

Sarah Olson, Ponoka’s economic development officer, presented a brief synopsis of Ponoka’s highlights for 2012 and what to look forward to in 2013. These are a few things mentioned for 2012:

• Helped co-ordinate the Rick Hansen Relay Tour in Ponoka and gave organizers a chance to tour the Centennial Centre for Mental Health and Brain Injury.

• Updated the town’s website: www.ponoka.ca. “It’s an ongoing work.”

• The Keep it Real branding campaign was launched. “The idea of that is all about authenticity.” The Nominate Your Neighbour contest was also launched in conjunction with to promote the campaign and promotional materials from the campaign are already in production.

• Women’s Pro Rodeo Today produced some documentary work in Ponoka. “Approximately 300,000 viewers…Across the different episodes.”

• In 2013 Olson hoped any issues with the website will be fixed.

• Way-finding signage for traffic and pedestrians will be developed.

• Downtown revitalization webinars will also continue.

• Global Video conducted some initial shooting last year as well. Work from that will be completed in April, she said.

2013 Vice President is Inger Laing and executive directors are: Dan Lea, Judy Dick, Melodie Helm, Theresa Turner, Andrew Middleton, Marion Raugust and Julie Evans.