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Davis mulls chamber of commerce’s agenda

By: Eric Czarnik | Sterling Heights Sentry | Published May 31, 2016

 Macomb County Executive Mark Hackel speaks during a Manufacturers Engage event that involved the Sterling Heights Regional Chamber of Commerce and Industry May 25 at DC3S, the Defense Corridor Center for Collaboration and Synergy, in Sterling Heights.

Macomb County Executive Mark Hackel speaks during a Manufacturers Engage event that involved the Sterling Heights Regional Chamber of Commerce and Industry May 25 at DC3S, the Defense Corridor Center for Collaboration and Synergy, in Sterling Heights.

Photo by Donna Agusti

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The new president and CEO of the Sterling Heights Regional Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Melanie Davis, has wasted no time getting down to business with setting goals and meeting prominent community members.

Davis, 45, from Sterling Heights, replaced Wayne Oehmke when he retired from the position in the beginning of May. Her past career experience includes positions at the Macomb County Chamber of Commerce,  at the Detroit Regional Chamber and at the Adcraft Club of Detroit.

Davis recently told the Sentry that compared to her past jobs, the Sterling Heights chamber has a narrower focus on small businesses, hospitality, retail and manufacturing. She has spent her first few weeks on the job meeting with staff and local businesspeople, adding that a May 12 meet-and-greet event was productive.

“I think we saw a lot of new faces,” she said. “I think people are interested in getting to know me and hear what my plans are, just to see what kind of a person I am and to create that initial relationship.”

Davis said she wants to reach out to the chamber’s membership — estimated at 1,300 — over the next six months and to get their feedback on what their needs are and how valuable the chamber’s benefits are to them.

“We’ll probably do a member survey, and I want to try to do as many face-to-face meetings in the next 30 to 60 days,” she added.

To help get additional feedback, the chamber recently was involved in an invitation-only event called Manufacturers Engage for members of the manufacturing community, Davis said. She said she wants to learn how to help those members succeed while learning which issues “keep them up at night.”

Davis also said the chamber plans to do some additional events, including one in which its #YoPros young professionals group partners with the Birmingham Bloomfield Chamber of Commerce to hold a mixer event at the new Jimmy John’s Field in Utica.

She said she will work in the next couple of months to enhance the chamber’s marketing and advertising efforts, and its affinity programs that provide member benefits and discounts. She said she wants to build a “portfolio of affinity programs” that can offer things that help members increase their revenue.

Davis invited local members’ business leaders and managers to contact her and provide feedback.

“I’m all about sitting down face to face. I’m very excited to build personal relationships with people, the business leaders in the community,” she said. “Nobody is in this alone, and I feel if we can pool our resources in the business community, that’s what we want to do.”

Mike Kramer, chair of the chamber’s board of directors, said Davis has been meeting contacts and trying to get familiar with the chamber’s procedures and processes.

“We’re kind of excited about the experience and enthusiasm that she has to offer our organization,” Kramer said. “At her previous job, she made events fun and memorable, and we’re looking forward to her suggestions to make our events, our educational networking opportunities, fun and memorable.”

Find out more about the Sterling Heights Regional Chamber of Commerce and Industry by visiting www.shrcci.com or by calling (586) 731-5400.

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