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Updated: Nov 27, 2023

by Herb Carpenter

Each year I look forward to the Strictly Business Forum. It is a morning of conversation with representatives from every segment of our economy — the ones making the decisions that will shape our future. The participants are always insightful, enthusiastic and surprisingly candid.

Since the last two Forums were remote due to COVID, this year’s event was even more highly anticipated and its outcome did not disappoint.

The common themes at all six of our round tables were attracting and retaining employees, child care costs and availability, affordable housing, transportation, and internet access.

This year’s first time Forum participants brought interesting perspectives. Joe Keegan, president of North Country Community College, shared news of its unique program which offers prison inmates a second chance.

Annie Brennan, Dealer Principal of Brennan Buick GMC, talked about her company’s investment in its employees.

Naked Turtle and Olive Ridley’s owner Matt Spiegel’s workforce challenges struck a chord with all of his table mates.

Brittany Silvestri offered details of Hudson Headwaters strategic planning initiatives.

Jeff Chauvin, of Curtis Lumber, explained the crippling effect the shortage of truck drivers is having on our supply chain.

As the morning drew to a close, Garry Douglas offered his insight about what happened in the business community in 2022 and his forecast for the new year. I was especially intrigued by his prediction of an announcement to come early in the new year. Given the Chamber’s record of leadership and success it is likely to bode well for our community.

And now we present you with the highlight of our 33rd annual Strictly Business Forum. Participants were proud of what had been accomplished, guardedly optimistic about our future and committed to do the hard work to make good things happen. The more we know about what our fellow business leaders are thinking, the better prepared we will be to make informed decisions.

…and that will be good for business.

Herbert O. Carpenter, Publisher

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