What would Mr. Mealor think of us now?

What would Mr. Mealor think of us now?

By Chamber Chairman Denise Deal

In 1908, W.G. Mealor would probably not have envisioned the vast magnitude of change that would take place in his community over the next century. A former mayor of Gainesville, Mr. Mealor served as the first president (chairman) of the Greater Hall Chamber of Commerce from 1908 until 1917.

I dare say that if someone told Mr. Mealor there would be a chewing gum manufacturing facility (Wrigley’s) in Gainesville-Hall County that produced 14 million packages each day he would have thought the idea to be outrageous. He would most likely have been astounded that Kubota Manufacturing of America produces over 65,000 Kubota units in Gainesville every year… that parts for Ford trucks (ZF Industries) are built in Hall County… and that 3.2 million broiler chickens a week are produced by one industry (Fieldale) alone.

The past leaders of the Greater Hall Chamber of Commerce have faced many challenges and vast opportunities. The challenge for Chamber leaders that begin this new century will be to reflect on the past, evaluate the present, and strive to plan for our future.

We must take advantage of our new and expanding opportunities through technological advances and free trade. The playing field for world commerce is getting smaller and smaller and the pace is getting faster and faster. Our challenge is to be progressive enough to stay ahead of the curve and embrace the future. Change is not always comfortable or pleasant, but in order to grow and stay competitive in this world marketplace, we must embrace change.

Through the VISION 2030 process, your Chamber of Commerce asked the Gainesville-Hall County community to dream big and think “outside the box.” As this process developed over the past two years, VISION 2030 has become the citizen’s vision of our future. It is the blueprint by which we can create our future.

During my term as Chairman 2007-2008, it is my goal to forge ahead with the implementation of the VISION 2030 goals. By 2030, someone will stand before this community and list the accomplishments. And, they will include:

– A community wide health and wellness initiative targeting diabetes and obesity that is a national model

– The greatest amount of protected green space per capita of any urban county in the State of Georgia

– Educational advances that rank our high school students in the top 5% in the State of Georgia

– A community that supports life-long learning through entities like the new Featherbone Communiversity

– A Southeastern United States hub for life science and bio science developments

– An Intercultural Arts Conference Center located in downtown Gainesville

– A major conference/hotel facility that houses OneHall – a national model for integrating residents of all culture into the life of the community

– A thriving Midtown, and at its nucleus a U.S. Post Office!

Sure, these goals are aggressive and some may say outrageous, but as Ralph Waldo Emerson once said, “Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail!” Be a part of creating the path – get involved in your Chamber.

As we look ahead, the Greater Hall Chamber will be celebrating a milestone this year – our 100th Anniversary. Centennial Celebrations are being planned for 2008 under the leadership of Frank Norton Jr., The Norton Agency, and former Chamber Chairman LeTrell Simpson, a retired 30 year employee of the Northeast Georgia Medical Center. As you may know, both LeTrell and Frank are dedicated Chamber volunteers with great creativity and invaluable experience! Watch for further details in Business Link. As we close out a century of work for the Chamber of Commerce later this year – let’s just remember….the FUTURE is OURS to SEE!