As a business person, Williams Lake and District Chamber of Commerce president Jason Ryll said he’s always looking forward for opportunities, advantages and new challenges that are on the horizon.
Speaking to the chamber after his formal installation by Mayor Kerry Cook Thursday, Ryll told members over the past year the chamber has been busy in the community, both inside and out.
“Early spring we held our 17th annual business excellence awards and we look forward to doing that again in March 2013. Shortly after that a handful of the directors and staff attended the B.C. Chamber of Commerce AGM in Penticton,” Ryll recalled admitting he anticipated being “bored out of his mind.” Instead he walked away “invigorated and encouraged” by the work the local chamber of commerce does.
“It was encouraging to see how influential our small chamber is when it comes to the voice of our business being heard throughout the rest of the province,” Ryll said.
Thanking staff, past directors, and volunteers for their work, Ryll said that dedication resulted in the chamber being awarded accreditation with distinction from the Canadian Chamber of Commerce.
“We are one of only three in the entire country to receive that kind of an award. We regularly conduct training programs for small business through our world host certification program, making customer service training available to you our members and non members.”
The chamber has also provided business opportunities to meet with government of all levels to discuss concerns and challenges around moving the local economy forward.
“We’ve even taken some of those ministers on tours through our downtown giving them and businesses an opportunity to relate that message firsthand. While that was interesting, I think it’s something we need to continue to do because if we don’t tell government what our challenges are as businesses then we are just making things harder for ourselves to surmount those challenges,” Ryll said.
The chamber works with the Tourism Discovery Centre and in 2012 hosted more than 20,000 unique visitors in the building. The building has also been used to host community events and craft fairs in an effort to make the building a focal point in the community and for visitors, Ryll added.
Chamber staff and directors also meet with businesses interested in coming to Williams Lake, he said.
“We saw the opening of the new Best Western Hotel, met with Spanish Mountain Gold, and are excited about the recent announcement from West Fraser about their multi million dollar investment into their planer mill here in Williams Lake that will create and sustain forestry work here in the lake city. If my little birdies have told me what’s true, we can expect similar announcements in the future.”
Priorities for the chamber include small business education for youth in the community, business training, and customer training for workers of all ages, plus training for business owners approaching retirement.