A message from the President and CEO
On February 2, 2004 I reported for my first day of work at the Oxnard Chamber of Commerce. I actually reported to the office of the Economic Development Corporation of Oxnard, commonly known as EDCO. The Chamber was being housed in their office after losing their lease in Downtown Oxnard. Without office space, all of the Chamber's belongings had been moved to a self-storage facility. In addition, everyone who worked for the Chamber had quit prior to my arrival. Those days were pretty challenging!
Thanks to Steve Kinney, President of EDCO, and some very dedicated volunteers on the Chamber Board (including the Chair, Tom Waddell), we began to rebuild the organization. About a year and a half after I took the helm as the CEO some office space opened up right down the hall from EDCO. It was a bit more than we currently needed, but growth was in our sights and we made the commitment to lease. It was a happy day when we were able to empty the self-storage unit and begin to furnish our new office. The Chamber is still housed there in the Topa Financial Plaza.
From 2004 through most of 2008 the Chamber was growing rapidly. In fact, the membership nearly doubled – then the Great Recession settled in. 2009 was a very lean year but we figured out how to cut expenses enough to get by. Growth was very slow during the Recession. Businesses were struggling, but we still had to address issues that challenged our members.
During the last 15 years the Oxnard Chamber has built a solid reputation as being a strong advocate for business. We have taken and communicated positions on hundreds of pieces of state legislation, regional issues, and local proposals ranging from air quality to water, labor laws to pension plans, transportation to taxation, land use to energy, and everything in between. Our Board, with help from its working committees, has been unwavering in its dedication to supporting our free enterprise system.
It is certainly a distinct pleasure and honor to serve the Oxnard business community. I know we have made an impact on countless local issues. Defeating the 2008 Oxnard Traffic Initiative was probably our greatest victory. That measure would have stifled economic prosperity in Oxnard for decades. We certainly haven't won all the battles, but have never given up.
Thanks for having me as your President and CEO for the past 15 years. I look forward to what is still ahead for the Oxnard Chamber of Commerce!