As the Folsom Chamber of Commerce looks forward to another year of creating the most business-friendly environment for existing and new businesses, large or small, the reins of leadership were passed from 2010 Chairman of the Board Tina Polley to Eric Hanson.
The change took place at the annual awards and installation luncheon on March 24 at the Natoma Inn.
Polley had served as chairman of the board in 2003. With the chamber facing the continuation of a severe national and local economic decline, plus months of construction work in the Historic District and a number of other challenges to the city’s financial health, Polley agreed to use her past experience and her business acumen to guide the organization through 2010.
Polley is a local businesswoman, CEO of Woodpointe Group, a Folsom company that facilitates the Chamber Discount Program for chambers of commerce throughout California.
She is also a horsewoman, and her management approach often draws on the equestrian world. In honoring her, Chamber CEO Joe Gagliardi referred to a rallying statement she was called upon to use throughout the year: “There must be a pony in there somewhere.” President Ronald Reagan, who was well known for his optimism, was fond of telling the “pony” story:
A mother of twin boys, around 5 years old, was worried that they had developed extreme personalities–one a pessimist and the other an optimist. The parents took the boys to a psychiatrist. The psychiatrist took the pessimistic boy to a room full of toys. Instead of being delighted, the boy started bawling. “What’s wrong? Don’t you want to play with the toys? asked the psychiatrist. “Yes,” responded the boy, “but if I do I’ll just break them.”
Next the psychiatrist took the optimistic boy to a room piled high with horse manure. Instead of being disgusted, the boy eagerly climbed on top and began scooping with his hands. “What are you doing?” questioned the psychiatrist. With a big grin, the boy answered, “With all this manure, there must be a pony in here somewhere.”
In 2010 the chamber found several ponies. The 50th Folsom Pro Rodeo sold out every night. Folsom LIVE! had record attendance even though Sutter Street was undergoing reconstruction. Membership swelled by 232.
The awards reflected the broad participation of directors, staff and volunteers for the chamber, the Folsom Tourism Bureau and Folsom Economic Development Corporation, all interlocking organizations.
Coach Dick Snider received the Ambassador of the Year Award, presented by Dan Ryan.
Karen West, from Costco, was honored as the Volunteer of the Year by Mary Ann McAlea.
Joe Gagliardi announced the addition of Dave West to the Chamber Wall of Fame. The recognition comes with a “key to the city.” West was honored for his contributions to business and education in Folsom. He was the first president of the Folsom High PTSDA, a youth leader, chairman of the chamber board in 1996, Folsom Rotary president, and founder of Folsom Lake Bank.
Folsom Lake Bank was Business Partner of the Year. President Robert Flautt accepted the award from Joe Gagliardi.
Mike Heddinger, of Granite Construction, was awarded Rodeo “Pardner” of the Year.
Marshall Crossan, of Folsom Chevrolet, and Murray Weaver, owner of the Powerhouse Pub, were joint recipients of the Folsom LIVE! Partner of the Year.
In the honors finalé, Polley presented dual Chairman’s Awards to Adam Frick, owner of FolsomLiving.com, and the Folsom City Council. Frick has been active in the Chamber as an ambassador, director and volunteer. “He is the Voice of the Chamber,” said Polley.
Mayor Andy Morin, Vice Mayor Ernie Sheldon, council members Jeff Starsky and Kerri Howell, and Assistant City Manager Evert Palmer were recognized for their efforts. Polley praised them for their leadership in maintaining the city’s financial security, for their professional and non-contentious relationship with the Chamber, and for Jeff Starsky’s contributions to enticing new businesses to locate in Folsom as mayor and a member of the Folsom Economic Development Corporation.
In accepting the award on behalf of the city, Starsky said, “The City Council is nearly unanimous on business issues. When business is successful, cities don’t have problems.”
Mayor Andy Morin administered the oath of office to the 2011 board of directors: Chair Eric Hanson, first Vice Chair Bob Flautt, second Vice Chair Russ Davis, Secretary Keith Johnson, Treasurer Debbie Hurst, Past Chair Rich Fiutko, and directors Marshall Crossan, Jim Den Dulk, Shaina DiMariano, Jim Eldridge, Adam Frick, David Hatch, Dan Haverty, Mike Heddinger, Phil MacDougall, Marilynn Macken, Annette Manz, Marko Mlikotin, Diana Peña, Rebecca Rawson and Murray Weaver.
As chairman of the 2011 board of directors, Eric Hanson said to the large audience of members, “Following Tina, I have big boots to fill.” Hanson’s background indicates he’ll do just fine. He earned a bacheolr’s in Engineering, Management from the U.S. Air Force Academy, an MBA in Marketing from Gonzaga University, served in the Air Force from 1987 to 1999 and is now a Lt. Col. in the U.S. Air Force Reserve, joined Intel in 1999 and is currently Graphics Initiatives Manager, where he works with software partners enabling applications on Intel hardware.
Hanson laid out his plans for the coming year, including more communication with members, increasing investment in the chamber’s young professionals organization, showcasing the city’s technical savvy and raising the profile of the city with events and film projects. “I want to see Folsom recognized as the premier city to do business,” he said.
The Folsom Chamber of Commerce is gearing up for its next event, the 51st Folsom Pro Rodeo. Dan Haverty is this year’s rodeo chairman. The kickoff on May 5 will initiate a series of rodeo-themed activities through July 1, when the traditional Cattle Drive and Parade travels down Sutter Street. Rodeo nights are July 2, 3 and 4.
For more information about membership or events call the Folsom Chamber of Commerce at (916) 985-2698.