OCONEE — The Oconee-Pickens Chamber Coalition gathered recently at the World of Energy to network and discuss the economics of the region in an event that was a win-win for all who attended.
Hosted by Duke Energy, the event served as a way for the members of six different area Chambers of Commerce in the two counties to connect for opportunities within the geographical area, but outside their normal chamber networking events.
Members from Greater Easley Chamber, Greater Pickens Chamber, Greater Oconee Chamber, Clemson, Walhalla, and Westminster were all represented at the March 27 gathering.
“From the coalition’s perspective there are a couple of clear benefits for our members and this multi-chamber event,” said Cindy Hopkins, president of the Greater Easley Chamber of Commerce. “One, although there are six chambers represented we’re still one geographical area that does business across county lines, and this meeting allows for networking for that reason. Two, this coalition is very involved in legislative issues, and we have the opportunity to remind our members of that.”
The coalition’s goals were at the heart of the meeting.
“Most people don’t realize how involved the coalition is when it comes to representing our members in keeping them up to date on legislation at all levels,” Hopkins said. “The Chamber Coalition exists to support public policy and legislative issues for the business community in Pickens and Oconee counties. It’s our goal to represent the business voice of our members and community.”
Although the event is the brain-child of the Chamber Coalition, Duke Energy’s World of Energy served as the backdrop, which the company intends to continue doing as part of its community outreach.
“Duke makes it a point to get involved in the community and always have an outreach,” said Amanda Dow, Communications Consultant for Duke Energy’s Oconee Nuclear Station. “This is one of our avenues by making out World of Energy available to the public.”
Duke, in an effort to continue its longstanding relationship in the area, uses its World of Energy not only for educational purposes, but for awareness in the community as well.
“We like to use the center to host events of various natures, like art shows and chamber events,” Dow explained. “It not only gives us an opportunity to educate and inform, but it helps people feel comfortable coming to a nuclear site and being able to see what we do here.”
As for the multi-chamber coalition, they have much more going on behind the scenes than most are aware of.
“The coalition meets monthly in Clemson, not just this once a year event, and our topics each month are very important to local businesses,” Hopkins said. “We discuss legislative agendas and conduct surveys for our members to determine what’s best for our area. We meet regularly with our state and national legislators as an outreach for our members as well.”