January News Update from David Jerome, President & CEO of the El Paso Chamber
It pleases me to wish you a happy new year! I am grateful to start another year at the helm of the El Paso Chamber; the premier hub of connecting, coaching, advocating, and innovating. Our agenda for 2021 is bold and its predicated on rebuilding and reimagining – our businesses, our community, and our trajectories for the future. 2020 offered a lion’s share of challenges, stress testing like we never expected, and moments where it felt like the weight of the world was on our collective shoulders.
The start of a new year always gives us a chance to move forward with a renewed sense of optimism. I believe we start 2021 with a two-tiered mission: dispatch COVID-19 and reinvigorate business in El Paso. Our first task is underway and with so many excellent and dedicated healthcare workers in our community; I am impressed with what has been accomplished.
Our second task is well within our wheelhouse, and I am excited about embarking on a multifaceted effort to rebuild and reimagine our business processes and efforts to set foundations for new and bold ventures, capitalizing on networks, and fueling an unstoppable trajectory for business success. I have not changed my disposition about how important business is to a community’s well being or why business is crucial to transformation; the pandemic has only steeled my resolve.
Coaching and illuminating pathways to access capital defined much of our role in the latter part of 2020. We pivoted quickly to support members and business in El Paso as broadly as possible with loan assistance and grant efforts. We will continue these efforts in 2021, largely because we understand that small and medium enterprises will need and will benefit from our efforts. As these businesses go, so goes El Paso!
Beyond expanding business capitalization and knowledge there are several initiatives that we endeavor to focus on this year. First, we are working with our partners to provide free Wi-Fi throughout the city. The pandemic taught all of us, from families needing access to digital education to businesses needing platforms for commerce and communication, that wireless needs to be part of the city’s infrastructure.
Second, as US-Mexico trade continues to influence the global economy, we recognize the need to upgrade and create an invigorated trade and commerce hub centered around the ports of entry in El Paso. The port environment should be the most efficient and most safe trade and commerce hub in North America and we are committed to the advocacy and infrastructure development necessary to achieve these goals.
Third, the EPC is committed to building up the aerospace and defense capacity of the region. While we have long been vocal advocates for Fort Bliss and its training and power projection roles for the Department of Defense, we are pleased to champion efforts alongside various partners, to expand the technological and educational infrastructure elements necessary for enhancing the burgeoning, cutting edge aerospace economy in El Paso.
Fourth, the Chamber is undertaking the city’s first, comprehensive, dynamic, shared value initiative. We recognize that businesses in El Paso are anchored to the values and work ethic that make this community special and building a stronger sense of shared value benefits every stakeholder in the business equation. Building from our recent efforts on quality and leadership, we believe we can make a difference through the institutionalization of this initiative.
We will learn lesson from 2020 and undoubtedly, we will reflect back on the challenges we have overcome, but I know we are on the edge of brilliant possibility and our best days are ahead of us. The El Paso Chamber is committed to rebuild businesses hit by the pandemic, but simultaneously our collective efforts will reimagine our trajectory forward as well as recognize opportunity, empowering business to once again drive innovation and capitalize on resources endemic to the region. Here is to a great year; we hope you will join us on the adventure.