On July 14, 2022, The Chamber of Catawba County hosted its 50th Anniversary Celebration at Rock Barn Country Club in Conover, NC. The Greater Hickory Chamber was established in 1908 and the Eastern Catawba County Chamber was initiated in 1945. The Catawba County Chamber of Commerce, now known to you as The Chamber of Catawba County, was organized in 1972, following a merger vote of the members of the aforementioned Chambers in 1971.
Over 200 guests arrived for the special celebration, featuring hors d’oeuvres, signature cocktails, memorabilia history tables, and even a photo booth.
Chamber President/CEO Lindsay Keisler welcomed guests at 5:15 PM with a few opening remarks, followed by an introduction of.2022 Chair of the Board, Lori Alala, also Partner at Broome Associates, a Legacy Insurance Partner.
Alala shared a history of the merger followed by some notable accomplishments and activities of the Chamber, over the decades, including:
- Instrumental in the formation of the Industrial Development Commission, now the Catawba County Economic Development Corporation.
- Initiated the original feasibility study for construction of a convention center and the formation of the convention and visitor’s bureau
- Led efforts to secure toll-free telephone service between Claremont & Hickory.
- Served as the driving force over the years to get Interstate 40 completed through Catawba County.
- Started Leadership Catawba, the county’s first leadership program aimed at informing and engaging new leaders for the future, which is now in its 48th year.
- Created the Land Use Development Board, a partnership with the Realtors Association and the Homebuilders Association to evaluate and advocate for pro-business land use & permitting policies in partnership with local government.
- Founded the Hickory Young Professionals in 2008 and the Top 10 Under 40 recognition
- Endorsed and lobbied successfully for countless local efforts that have led the way for significant development such as the funding of the final eight miles of Hwy 16, the extension of water and sewer down Hwy 150 to Hwy 16, a liquor by the drink campaign in Sherrills Ford and the Boost Hickory bond campaign, to name a few.
- Have initiated numerous initiatives and programs to attract and develop qualified talent for business and industry, including the formation of K-64 and HKY4Vets, an effort to connect transitioning military services members to civilian careers.
- Was named Outstanding Chamber of the Year by the Carolinas Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives in 2014 and in 2016 was named Chamber of the Year by the Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives, a national association, in our category size.
After sharing a few notable facts, Alala took time to recognize the following groups of leaders: Past Board Members, Current Chamber Board Members, Former President & CEOs, including those present: Ron Leitch (1980-1985) and Danny Hearn (2004-2016), Former Staff Members, Recognition of Current Staff, Special Recognition of Pamela Manfredi, Director of Office Administration, for 38 Years of Service to The Chamber, and Special Recognition of Pat Appleson, for over 15 years of service to The Chamber and our greater community.
Recognition was also extended to Current and Former Ambassadors, and Past Chairs. Lastly, Alala recognized the 1972 Legacy Forward Club Members who’ve contributed to our special one-time campaign to commemorate 50 years of “Working for Business.”
As guests exited, they were presented with a 50th Anniversary challenge coin. Guests were also encouraged to sign a special framed print, which will hang in The Chamber Board Room.
To watch a recap of the event, click the video below: