Working For Vail: The Vail Chamber of Commerce

This article authored by: Rob Hallberg

Catherine & I recently joined the Vail Chamber of Commerce, representing our business as Long Realty Associate Brokers.  I attended my first meeting today and I have a few observations and comments:

Vail Arizona Chamber of CommerceAttendance: I was very impressed with the number of attendees. There must have been at least 60 members at the meeting.

Commitment: The Vail Chamber of Commerce supports a number of organizations to improve our community and residents. One of the major programs the Vail Chamber supports are five Scholarships awarded to students preparing to attend college. There were 65 applicants and the five students that received the awards introduced themselves and told us of their career plans. Proceeds from the 4th Annual Greater Vail Chamber of Commerce Golf Tournament, which will be held on May 9th, are used to fund these scholarships, so be sure to attend!

In addition to the Scholarships, there were speakers from the American Cancer Society and the Pima County Department of Economic Development and Tourism. More on both of these organizations below.

Quality: I was also impressed with the quality and dedication of the members of the Vail Chamber of Commerce.  There were a number of questions and comments from the members that demonstrated their professionalism and care for the community.

About the Meeting

The meeting was opened by the Board President, Dennis Fischer.  After several announcements, all Members were asked to stand and introduce themselves, which was followed by a full breakfast provided by Hotrods on Old Vail Road, where the meeting was held. The speakers were next, followed by a drawing to win a raffle. Tickets are purchased before the meeting, and the winner receives one half of the money contributed while the Scholarship Fund receives the balance.

Penny JohnsonI ran into a close friend at the meeting, Penny Johnson, who has been a member of the Vail Chamber of Commerce for years, and served on the Board for a short time.

Penny is a Sales Director with Mary Kay Cosmetics, a position earned by the top 2% of all consultants. And yes, she has earned two cars. Penny was a great life-line for the meeting, pointing me in the right direction and introducing me to other members.

Colossal Cave Mountain Park

Michael HolmesMichael Holmes of the Pima County Department of Economic Development and Tourism gave a presentation on Colossal Cave Mountain Park, a premier attraction located in Vail that has been struggling economically in recent years.  Michael presented the results of a Performance Audit that was completed in November.

The Audit concluded that Colossal Cave Mountain Park has tremendous potential that will produce significant long term benefits, provided steps are taken to repair its infrastructure and operations.

They will also publicize a new approach and features that will increase the value to the public and improve attendance and restore profitability to the Park.  A more detailed Blog on Colossal Cave Mountain Park and the Audit recommendations will be posted in the coming week.

The Relay For Life

Jennifer Fishencord & Brandy Bock of the American Cancer Society were up next. Their presentation was on American Cancer Society’s Relay For Life, a great opportunity for the Vail community to participate in a fun event Jennifer Fishencordand help with the fight against cancer.  The Relay For Life was started in 1985 by Dr. Gordy Klatt, a surgeon in Tacoma Washington, who enlisted  friends who paid him $25 to run or walk 30 minutes with him around the track at the University of Puget Sound stadium . After a grueling 24 hours with almost 300 of his friends, Dr. Klatt collected over $27,000 to fight cancer.

The Relay For Life has grown every year since, expanding to over 5,000 American cities.  Internationally the Relay For Life is now being held in 1,000 communities representing 23 countries, including many in western Europe but also in New Zealand, the Philippines, Japan, Guatemala, Turkey and even the tiny African Nation of Zambia. Over $400 million was raised by the Relay in 2014; let’s make it $500 million in 2015!

The Tucson/Vail Relay For Life will be held on May 15th and 16th at the Empire High School in Vail. Catherine and I will participate and we are working to build teams in Long Realty. Long Realty has a long history of supporting the Tucson community through the Long Realty Cares Foundation. Since 2002, the Foundation has contributed over $2 million to local charities.

I recommend watching the Video, “All You Need To Know About Relay”, as it grabbed my attention and turned me into an advocate for the event.  Not only is it for a great cause, one that has affected all of us in one way or another, but it looks like great fun!  Some of the past participants said the best times are in the middle of the night. It’s a 12 hour event starting at 5:45PM, so I imagine they are suggesting a 3:00am or so time slot. Participants can walk less than an hour or for the whole 24 hours, whatever you are comfortable with. Find out all the details here: American Cancer Society Relay for Life.

The meeting closed with a drawing for gifts provided by the members. I actually won, beginner’s luck, I guess. I was awarded a gym bag from Tammy Minot of Southwest Solutions, a marketing and promotional product company. Coincidentally, I have known Tammy for years and did some business with her at another company, quite successfully I might add.

Hope to see you at the 4th Annual Greater Vail Chamber of Commerce Golf Tournament (May 9th) and the American Cancer Society Relay For Life (May 15th)!

More About Vail, AZ >

 Rob Hallberg

Rob and Catherine Hallberg are Associate Brokers with Long Realty, a Berkshire-Hathaway Affiliate and Southern Arizona’s largest Brokerage. Since 2008, they have been ranked in the top 5% to 8% of all U.S. REALTORS®. Send Rob and Catherine an email  for a fast response to your questions; for an even faster response, Call (520) 407-8667.


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