Military Affairs Spring Social
Photos from the event here.
The Military Affairs Committee hosted their Spring Social Thursday evening at the Lawton Country Club. It was a time to catch up with friends as well as a chance to bid farewell to those leaving our community. Military Affairs works to promote unity between business leaders and military command staff.
The Military Affairs Committee hosts a social every Fall and Spring.
If you are interested in becoming a part of the Military Affairs Committee contact Jamie Southerland today!
Armed Forces Day 2016
Community Leaders Welcome Troops
A group of community leaders traveled to Fort Hood last week to extend a welcome to troops and their families who will soon be relocating to Lawton Fort Sill. In a Town Hall Meeting, leaders spoke about various aspects of Lawton to help these families better prepare for their move to our community.
Information on how you can welcome these families here.
YCC Membership Event - Chairpersons Announcement
Thursday, April 14 at 11:33am, we kicked off our YCC Membership Event by hosting a lunch at the 360 Restaurant for our event Chairpersons. This lunch was led by Ellie Braxton (YCC), and provided 60 minutes of formal training instruction on how our Chairpersons will successfully lead the drive.
It was stressed that this Membership Event is like none other done before at the Lawton Fort Sill Chamber; it is thrilling, exciting, out-of-the-box thinking, fast, and highly competitive. As the training concluded, each Chairperson picked a team color to wave their team’s flag, and the competition will now begin! From now until May 6, these leaders will work to recruit 5 Captains to build their teams, which will be followed by a May 6 Captains Training from Jimmy Cusano, the YCC Ring-Leader.
We are proud to announce our Chamber has secured 6 OUTSTANDING community business leaders to lead the way as Chairpersons. Our roster includes:
1. Stan Booker (AAA Investment Properties, LLC)
2. Ervin Randle (Classic Chevrolet, Lawton)
3. MG (R) Lee Baxter (Signal Mountain Associates)
4. Jennifer Ellis (Cosmetics Specialty Lab)
5. Jacob Brox (Brox Industries, LLC)
6. James Taylor – Runner’s Chairman (Oklahoma Employment Security Commission)
Last week a delegation of seventeen Fires Patriots traveled to Fort Leavenworth, Kansas to learn more about the way ahead for the U. S. Army.
They received several briefings on a variety of topics of interest to include an overview of the National Simulation Center, Army University and the Human Dimension Strategy/ Leader Development.
Leaders of the trip will participate in an after action meeting to discuss information learned and where it can be applied in our community.
Members of the Nominating Committee met on Friday to propose a new slate of officers and board members for the Chamber Board of Directors to be considered by the entire membership.
YCC 2016 Membership Drive – Progress Update
We are working hard to lock in our YCC Chairperson’s for the upcoming membership drive. We have 4 chairs committed to this event, and a little over two weeks left to secure more. The Chairpersons training Is set for April 14, 2016. Look forward to an announcement about our full list of chairs for the 2016 YCC Membership Drive.
ARMED FORCES DAY – HONORING LEGACY BUILT ON SACRIFICE
WANT YOUR BUSINESS TO STAND OUT AND SHOW SUPPORT FOR OUR SERVICE MEMBERS? Find out more here!
Armed Forces Day is May 21, 2016, and there are many ways the community can celebrate the sacrifice of our brave servicemembers.
The weekend of events will kick off Friday with the Armed Forces Day Luncheon and conclude Saturday with the Armed Forces Day Parade followed by a music festival and red dirt BBQ. The theme for the weekened is “Legacy Built on Sacrifice.”
The Armed Forces Day Luncheon, will begin at 11:30 a.m. on Friday, May 20 at the Patritot Club on Fort Sill.
“This luncheon is a chance to show support for the soldiers in Lawton Fort Sill,” said Albert Johnson Jr., Vice Chair of Military and Government Affairs for the Lawton Fort Sill Chamber of Commerce. “Our community is deeply rooted in a strong military heritage, and this luncheon is a direct way to show support for the brave men and women who serve this country.”
Tickets are $20 per person and must be purchased in advance by stopping by the Chamber or calling 580-355-3541. You can also register online at LawtonFortSillChamber.com.
Touted as the largest Armed Forces Day Parade in the United State, the Lawton Fort Sill Convention and Visitors Bureau’s Armed Forces Day Parade draws more than 100 parade entries, multiple military vehicles, and more than 1,000 marching soldiers. The parade will begin at 10 a.m. at 6th and “C” Ave. heading west. At 11th Street, the parade will turn north and conclude at Ferris Ave.
“The parade helps the community understand exactly what Fort Sill does on a every day basis,” said Melinda Kukurich, Parade Chair. “The parade and the events afterwards in the park offer a whole day for families to spend together and learn about Fort Sill and the community support we show our troops. It is always fun to see the different ways people decorate their floats to go with the theme of the parade in which we change every year.“
Parade entry forms are located at the Chamber, or online at www.visitlawtonok.com.
After the parade the community is invited to Elmer Thomas Park for the Armed Forces Day Music Festival and Red Dirt BBQ, put on by Holiday in the Park.
According to John Beemer with Holiday in the Park the event will have events for kids young and old, vendors, The First Command Financial Car Show; brought to you by Nokturnal Car Club and Changin Lanez Car Club, The Finity Marketing Group Red Dirt BBQ competition, and live music from 1:00-10:00 pm. This will all wrap up with a fireworks show around 10:00 pm. The event is completely free to attend and open to the public.
Legacy Built on Sacrifice will have a different meaning to each person at these events, but one thing will be constant; the profound respect our community has for our service members.
“My own son was only five years old when the attacks on September 11th occurred,” said Beemer. “He's stood by my side at all hours of the night and day as we brought America's sons and daughters home from combat. Now, he is an Airman in the United States Air Force following a legacy as a fourth generation of service, but he too realizes the sacrifices it takes to live that life. He realizes the freedoms he sacrifices as he serves his nation. Those are the type of legacies that have formed through proud service to our country.”
Prince of Peace Easter Pageant
The Holy City's Prince of Peace Easter Pageant has one more show this year. On Saturday, March 26th at 8:30 the Holy City will host the event.
One of many online reviews said it best, "If you've never been, you definitely have to go to the Easter Pageant at least once in your life. The dedication of all the people involved and the amazing setting and structures make it truly something to behold. Experiencing the Wichita Mountains isn't complete without catching the play."
Don't miss the Prince of Peace Easter Pageant. For only $99 you get a hotel room for one night, and a $40 gift card for dinner. Spots are limited so call 800-872-4540 to reserve yours today!
EXCEPTIONAL Customer Service Seminar
WANT YOUR BUSINESS TO STAND OUT AT THIS EVENT? Contact Sharleen for information.
Most of us understand what keeps us in business. Sometimes though, we get caught up in tasks and routines that cause us to lose sight of our most valuable asset – our customers.
In today’s marketplace, people think, shop, buy and conduct business differently. They also have more options than they used to. As a result, it’s up to you to ensure that your staff has the right skillset, knowledge and resources to interact, adapt, win and keep new customers. This seminar covers the 4 core essentials that allow you to keep and grow your customer base. Learn how to create buzz to take your business to the next level at the “EXCEPTIONAL Customer Service Seminar.” May 13th from 8:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. at the CETES Conference Center at Cameron University.
About the Seminar: “EXCEPTIONAL Customer Service - Building Customer Loyalty”
Are you losing your customer base because of less than favorable experiences? Studies in customer retention say you are. In fact, more than 50% of customers stop buying because of an unfavorable interaction with an employee. Are you training your staff effectively? Do you want to create a better customer experience? Mike teaches effective strategies that can help you.
Customer service strategies that You Need to Know and Will Learn:
- The 4 Principles of EXCEPTIONAL Customer service
- Understanding why people buy and what they want
- How to create a better customer experience
- How to build better relationships
- Dealing with difficult situations
- And more…
With over 25 years of business and client service experience, Mike Rodriguez is a world-renowned Motivator, a former Ziglar Showcase Speaker, a business Expert and the author of multiple books. He has been interviewed on CBS, featured on U.S. News and World Report and has lectured leadership at Baylor University. Mike has been promoted by Barnes & Noble and has trained staff at the Federal Government, Colonial Insurance, Hilton and many global organizations. As the featured speaker for the 2015 Ziglar U.S. Tour, Mike has taught thousands of people practical training principles that you can start using immediately.
How to Land Your First Job
In college no one told me exactly how hard it would be to find my first job. I had it in my head I would graduate and then I would just walk right into my career. Life had other plans. I struggled to find a job right out of college, and honestly that’s because I forgot some of what I learned about getting a job. I want to share with you what I have learned in hopes that it will help someone find employment after graduation.
- Make a list of everything you want in a job
What do you expect to be paid? Research jobs in your field, and average income in your area. What is the lowest number you could accept? What do you want your day to day to look like? Do you want to sit behind a desk everyday, or do you want to be out of the office working with people? Think about everything you realistically want in your first job.
- Create a resume
Your resume is the first look potential employers have. If your resume is loaded with misspelling, poor grammar, or is in general an eyesore, chances are you won’t get a call for an interview. Have someone in your field look over your resume. Many colleges have career services that will help you build a great resume.
- Personalize a cover letter for each job opening you apply to
Each job is different. Fit your skill set to the job posting. Tell the potential employer why they should hire you. This isn’t something that can be done with a blanket cover letter.
- Look in the newspaper, and on job boards online
Job posting are everywhere, so you should always monitor newspapers and job board. The Chamber has its own job board you can visit here. I found my job through a friend on Facebook. Always be on the lookout!
- Go to career fairs
This is an opportunity to talk face to face with potential employers before you even get an interview. Dress professionally, and take resumes with you. Ask what job opening they may have or if they are taking applications. There is a great career fair coming up on March 22nd at Eisenhower High School at 6:00
- Follow through
In your cover letter, note that you will be contacting the employer to follow up on the opportunity for an interview, and then actually call and follow up. Also in your interview, ask when you can expect to hear back from them.
- Be patient.
After you apply for a job, wait it out. It takes time to look through resumes. Continue looking for job postings, and wait for the right call.
- Dress conservatively for your interview.
For ladies wear pants or a longer skirt, modest heels or flats, a blazer, stockings, and neutral makeup. For men wear a suit, with a plain tie and no crazy colored shirts.
- Always be early for an interview
It is better to be sitting there waiting, than to arrive late. The people interviewing you are busy, and chances are they have other interviews that day. Sometimes interviews finish sooner than expected and they will take you back early.
- Send thank you notes.
This is such a lost art so many people don’t think to do it. Hand write thank you notes to everyone you come into contact with. If you are picked up at the airport write the driver a thank you note, write the receptionist a thank you note, and most importantly write you interviewer a thank you note.
Getting your first job can be stressful, but with the right mentality you will find the right fit for you. One final tip to keep in mind, always be networking and marketing yourself. Promote yourself as a valuable commodity. Some of the best positions are gained through word of mouth!
Business After Hours
With 132 people in attendance, City National Bank had a full house at their newest location on 82nd during their Business After Hours. Everyone was networking and giving out their business cards to prospective clients. This is a great opportunity to network one on one in a relaxed atmosphere. We would like to thank City National Bank for hosting a great event! See you next month! Photos from the event here.
If you are interested in hosting a Business After Hours contact Sharleen at 355-3541.
Breakfast with Champions
Breakfast with champions describes our recent Lawton Fort Sill Day at the Capitol. Our elected officials working at 2300 N. Lincoln in Oklahoma City are battling fiercely to fulfill their responsibilities to the citizens of Oklahoma in the midst of a significant budget shortfall. These dedicated individuals from many communities across our state took time to share insights with the civilian and military representatives from Lawton Fort Sill regarding how they will be able to manage during this crisis. It is clear they know what is important because Representative Ann Coody stated earlier in Lawton, “We will figure this out, because that is our job”. Many thanks go to our elected champions as they struggle to serve our community and our state in both good and challenging times.
Photos from the event here.
Showcase Your Jobs in Lawton
Are you looking for new employees? Eisenhower High School is hosting their 2016 College and Career Fair to prepare career bound citizens in their students. They are actively seeking employers as well as colleges and universities. It will be held March 22nd at Eisenhower High School. Don't miss this great opportunity! If you are interested contact Ms. Paula Bowen. See you there!
Did Your Business Stand Out in a Crowd?
Great Plains Technology Center hosted it's 7th annual Small Business Trade Show. Small businesses of Southwest Oklahoma had an opportunity to showcase their businesses and services and sell their products to attendees. If you missed this great event, we hope you will be at next years Trade Show!
Photos from the event here.
YCC Membership Drive 2016
The Lawton Fort Sill Chamber is hosting a Membership Event that is like none other done before. For two-and-a-half days (May 24-25-26), community leaders will work against the clock and against each other to sign up new Chamber members and create greater community awareness of the important role of the Chamber. The event is organized by Jimmy Cusano and a group called Your Chamber Connection. Their specialty is high-energy membership campaigns that allow volunteers to conduct “out of the box” fun while building the membership base. Currently, our Chamber is in the early planning stages of the event. Right now we are working hard to recruit outstanding community business leaders to serve as our Event Chairmen! Stay tuned for up and coming information through our Facebook, and also through our Monday Minute newsletter. If you'd like to learn more, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We all know how busy things get around the office and how quickly work can accumulate. Organization should be your first priority. The more organized you are the faster you will be able to accomplish a task. These are a few things that have worked for me here at the Chamber of Commerce.
I like to keep two calendars. One calendar should be of everything that needs to be done. Then I go through that and prioritize it by making deadlines for every task that needs to be done. This is what I like to put on my second calendar. That way each day I come to work I know what my goal is and can get working right away to accomplish it. If you are relying on someone else to get part of a task done be sure to give friendly reminders, this can help both of you in the long run. Try and have a filing system in place to help create less clutter. Not only can clutter be an eyesore but it can also be taking up valuable time when you have to go through it to find something. Don’t leave a task 99% done; take the few extra steps to finish it. Lastly we all need a little down time to destress so take a mini break to recharge and refocus.
Hopefully these tips can help you out too!
Have you been on your path to discovery on the Lawton Fort Sill Discovery Trail? The Discovery Trail is based on the top 7 attractions to Lawton Fort Sill. Along the path you will find:
- The Historic Mattie Beal Home
- Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge
- Museum of the Great Plains
- Leslie Powell Gallery
- Holy City of the Wichitas
- Fort Sill National Historic Landmark and Museum
- The Comanche National Museum and Cultural Center.
Check out VisitLawtonOK.com for more details.
Southwest OK Legislative Reception
Building positive relationships with Oklahoma lawmakers is the primary focus for our annual Southwest Oklahoma Legislative Reception. Last Tuesday we celebrated another successful partnership with chambers from Altus, Chickasha, Duncan, Elgin, Frederick and Walters. Why is this reception important to membership?
- Working together allows us to showcase the economic importance of southwest Oklahoma
- Provides membership the opportunity to meet face-to-face with their legislators and many state agency leaders in a relaxed atmosphere
- Location at the Oklahoma History Center allows for ease of attendance by the legislators
- Chamber plays a large role in promoting a pro-business and pro-military environment
Thank you to the following sponsors who always show their support and made this event possible!
Fort Sill Federal Credit Union
Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company
State Chamber of Oklahoma
Great Plains Technology Center
Southwestern Medical Center
Comanche County Memorial Hospital
View photos from the event here.
5 Reasons YOU Should Join Co-Op
The Lawton Fort Sill Co-Op promotes unity between business and military leaders, and understanding between the business community of Lawton and the Soldiers of Fort Sill. If you aren’t yet a part of this phenomenal program, here a a few reasons you should be:
- Co-Op creates a direct tie between your business and Fort Sill. The program allows for soldiers to attend your event, and all you have to do is filll out a form and submit it to MWR. The bonds you form through Co-Op are invaluable.
- Through Co-Op you are able to participate in various events throughout the year such as the Dinges Awards Banquet, The Buffalo Burger Cookout, The Bill Smith Memorial Golf Tournament and many more.
- Co-Op opens the door for many volunteer opportunities. Businesses and soldiers can work together to better the Lawton Fort Sill community.
- You will be ahead of the power curve, as you find out information before everyone else. Get a first look at advertising opportunities, and have the ability to plan ahead, because you will hear about events before anyone else.
- Be a part of an outstanding legacy. Co-Op began in 1980. It was pioneered by Major General Edward A. Dinges, the Commanding General of Fort Sill, and former Lawton Mayor, Wayne Gilley. This laid the groundwork for what we have today. They dreamed of a mutual cooperation and understanding between military personnel and civilians, and we are still fostering those relationships today.
The Lawton Fort Sill Co-Op is about people working together for the betterment of the community and building friendships that last a lifetime. Contact Jamie Southerland to join Co-Op today!
2016 Legislative Luncheon
The Lawton Fort Sill Chamber of Commerce hosted the Legislative Kick-Off Luncheon. As the state legislative session begins, this was an opportunity to meet with state legislators and engage with them.
“The Legislative Kick-Off Luncheon allows our community to build relationship with our local legislators,” said Albert Johnson, Jr., Vice Chair for Military and Government Affairs. “This is a chance for our community to get their voices heard by our local officials.
We would like to thank the legislators who attended the event: Representative John H. Montgomery, Representative Ann Coody, Senator Don Barrington, Representative Scooter Parks, and Representative Jeff Coody
We would also like to thank our sponsors
|City National Bank|
|Fort Sill Federal Credit Union|
|Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co|
Photos from the event here.
8 Laws of Leadership
Leadership is defined by many characteristics and actions. Similarly, the path to leadership varies with each individual although common traits can be found among the best leaders. Retired Air Force General William Cohen identified the following 8 Laws of Leadership in his book, “The Stuff of Heroes.” As you read them, consider those leaders you most admire and determine if they employ these same actions.
- Maintain absolute integrity
- Know your stuff
- Declare your expectations
- Show uncommon commitment
- Expect positive results
- Take care of y our people
- Put duty before self
- Get out in front
I may be biased, but Lawton Fort Sill is unlike any other community in the United States. With more than 100,000 people, it has a number of big city amenities while never losing its small town touch. Visitors to Lawton Fort Sill can expect to be greeted with a warm smile as they discover the rich history of our community at the Museum of the Great Plains, follow herds of buffalo and longhorn in the Wichita Mountain Wildlife Refuge, or experience the breathtaking view of Lawton Fort Sill from the top of Mount Scott.
When you are done taking in the scenic beauty of the refuge, venture into town and witness the sacrifice and heritage of the Comanche’s at the Comanche National Museum and Cultural Center, or learn about the military legacy of Fort Sill through its Air Defense Museum and Field Artillery Museum. With so much to do in one community, we are ready to help you make your next memory. So give us a call, 1-800-872-4540, and see yourself in Lawton Fort Sill!
Co-Op Coordinating Council
On Wednesday the Co-Op Coordinating Council met to begin planning the events for the coming year. With eleven events on their calendar they look forward to a busy year of community service and new friendships! The Lawton Fort Sill Co-Op works to promote unity between Lawton businesses and Fort Sill Soldiers. Co-Op builds lasting relationship through partnership. Business leaders look forward to developing relationships with Fort Sill Soldiers, Marines and their families in the coming year. If you aren’t a Co-Op member yet, it is never too late to join. For more information contact Jamie Southerland today. Photos here.
Sheppard Travel & Recreation Expo
Jacob Russell, CVB Director, Christi Chambers, Apache Casino Hotel, and Michael Conley, Sleep Inn & Suites, showcased Southwest Oklahoma at the Sheppard Travel & Recreation Expo Monday afternoon in Wichita Falls. The group met with airmen and their families stationed at Sheppard Air Force Base regarding potential vacation opportunities in Lawton Fort Sill.
Arts for All
The Arts for All Luncheon and Cultural Awards were held on Feb. 26. Guest speaker, Barbara Boguski, entrepreneur, artist and Lawton businesswoman gave an inspired speech to attendees. At the luncheon the Lawton Arts and Humanities Council presented five awards to citizens and businesses who have made outstanding contributions to the arts and humanities in the community.
Luncheon Sponsored by:
Top 10 Reasons You Should be a Chamber Member
10 WAYS A CHAMBER MEMBERSHIP WILL BENEFIT YOU
- Network with Lawton Fort Sill’s Leaders
When you join our Chamber, you are joining the inner circle of roughly 1,000 business leaders from every sector of the Lawton Fort Sill economy. Through Business After Hours, Chamber Luncheons, New Member Receptions, Committee Meetings, and many other social gatherings, you have multiple opportunities to meet-n-greet with your next customer!
- Promote Your Business
Whether becoming the “Featured Member” on our Monday Minute newsletter, conducting a Ribbon Cutting event, or receiving a listing in our printed and online Business & Visitors Guide, there are many free publicity perks to your Chamber membership. In addition, the Chamber also offers members with exclusive sponsorship & advertising opportunities for our events and publications.
- Take Advantage of Our Resources
The Chamber is considered the “Resource Center” for the Lawton-Fort Sill Community. Whether it’s receiving real-time community news, utilizing our members to build clientele, or uploading your business news/events to our community calendar, the assets we have at the Chamber are here for you to use! Because the Chamber holds the mission of being the “Resource Center”, as a member, you have the opportunity to be included in our “Relocation Packets” that are distributed weekly to newly relocated families moving to Lawton Fort Sill.
- Find Your Next Great Hire
The Chamber’s website serves as a job posting board for our members! Check out Lawtonfortsillchamber.com under “Employment Opportunities” to post your vacancy today! The Chamber staff also shares our member’s job vacancies on our Facebook page to reach the widest dissemination. We are here to help you build your staff!
- A Voice For Your Business
Are you facing any legislative challenges at your business today? One of the Chamber’s focal missions is to advocate on behalf of the business community in Lawton Fort Sill, and to be the voice for our business leaders. Whether you are faced with local, state, or even federally mandated regulations, the Chamber is here to be your voice! Keep us informed so we can take the steps necessary to create pro-business legislation!
- Referred business from the Chamber
Between local residents and also visitors to our community, the Chamber receives multiple communicative opportunities to refer out our local businesses. Whether it’s a phone call, a walk-in customer, or an online web-link, we make it our priority to refer business to our members only! At the end of the year, we send you data as to how many times your business has been referred.
- Leadership & Professional Development Opportunities
Are you a business professional seeking leadership development opportunities within our community? Whether you’re interested to serve on Chamber committees, or even just attend local business seminars that provide education, Chamber members have first opportunity to take advantage of these opportunities. There’s no better way to receive personal & professional growth opportunities than to serve at the Chamber! For a list of active Chamber committees, visit Lawtonfortsillchamber.com.
- Business Credibility in the Community
When a business joins the Chamber, there is a sense of credibility provided to them amongst the community. A Chamber business is one that is invested in the community, and has the economic growth of our community at top of interest. Once you join, our first step is to provide you with a Membership Window Cling so you can proudly display your affiliation on your front doors. Research shows 60% of customers are more likely to business with members of their local Chamber of Commerce.
- Member-to-Member Benefits
As a member of the Lawton Fort Sill Chamber of Commerce, not only would you receive many benefits from the Chamber, but there are also many perks from other members. Joining the Chamber is about creating partnerships and connecting businesses with other businesses, this is one way we will connect you! Our Member-to-Member benefits are listed at LawtonFortSillChamber.com
- Credibility with our Military Community
The Lawton Fort Sill Chamber is unique in that we not only build relations with our business leaders, but we also strive daily to build relations with our military leaders on Fort Sill. As a Chamber member, allow us to represent you at Fort Sill! Each week Chamber staff visits the Family Days ceremonies to welcome our visiting military families to our community. Many of the choices they make for touring, dining, or shopping could include your establishment!
Growing our Economy
Written by Debra Welch | President and CEO
Growing our local economy is done through a multi-faceted set of strategies. Our economic development team is comprised of several Chamber member representatives who recently worked together to upgrade their system of recording retention visit information on a secure platform designed to maintain confidentiality. Tracking information about local businesses is an integral strategy of our overall economic development plan as it relates to business retention and expansion. The new system adds organization, record keeping and report building systems to allow the entire team various levels of access to collect, input and analyze data.
Being able to stay connected with existing business entities and their plans, helps our economic development team assist these employers with workforce, training, promotion and available incentives for expansion opportunities. Growing our economy by retaining and expanding existing businesses is a key strategy of a strong economic development plan for Lawton Fort Sill.