Me and the Chamber…..I was worried that no one could replace the retiring Louis Garvin as executive director (or chairman of the board or whatever they are calling themselves these days) of the Fort Bend Chamber. You see, Louis came along after a series of less than perfect chief executives. Don’t get me wrong. They weren’t really bad and Louis wasn’t perfect but he was a salesman and that is what the job takes. You have to sell people on joining or sell volunteers on signing up new members, then you have to sell the new members on volunteering. It is sort of like a self-perpetuating torture chamber.
You probably remember the nearly famous anti-drug ad which showed a addict taking cocaine to keep himself up and working hard, then the addict had to have cocaine to keep working to make enough money to buy cocaine.
That’s sort of like chamber work. Now, mind you, Louis also presided over the chamber at a time of phenomenal growth in Fort Bend. The Fort Bend Economic Development Council brought new businesses in by offering them tax incentives, then once they were here in Fort Bend County, Louis picked their other pockets with membership dues and “chairman’s council” mega dues. He was a master at that.
But after his retirement last year and the elevation of Keri Schmidt, who was, after all, hired by Louis and eventually trained to take his place, the Fort Bend Chamber continues to excel in almost everything it does, including its annual banquet.
Every year Schmidt works with the outgoing and incoming presidents to put on an annual banquet to top the year before.
This year was no exception and was really a lot of fun.
Outgoing president Chris Breaux, who has a wicked sense of humor (I find most CPAs do. It makes up for their boring number crunching.) quickly dispatched the speechifying by saying “Blah, blah, blah, blah,” briefly thanking all the staff and board, and handing out crystal vases to outgoing board members. I thought incoming president Bruce Mercer was going to blow it and make a too-long speech, but he held it to about two minutes.
We ate, repaired to the “crepe room” for crepes and other desserts, then sashayed into the game room for some fun gambling. It was a great banquet with plenty of time to meet and chat with friends in a relaxed atmosphere (or was that the open bar?).
Me, I sat at the Fort Bend Focus table because my mean kids own the Focus magazines and they invited me (under protest, I think), Becky Hall, the Star real estate specialist, Mary Dotteral with The Fort Bend Business Journal, and Elsa Maxey Malakoff, who now runs Star Video. Jim and Jessica Kij were there (she’s Focus Magazines’ chief sales associate) and then Bob and Dianne Wilson from the county as Dianne is Fort Bend’s county clerk.
I wanted to sit by Bob as he has a new career. He’s trying out and successfully getting into television commercials and he’s also trying out for video series if he can stay home-based in Texas. I wanted to sit by someone who may be famous some day and one of the best looking guys in the room.
If you like to see a bunch of bold face types and check out how all the ladies were dressed (mostly in black) it was great fun and made you wonder how they will top it next year.
Way to go Keri! P. S. Consider joining the chamber of commerce. You meet the best people.
Don’t know where the week went…..I fell down on my job this week of stirring it up. I don’t know what happened. I think I’m sick of politics. Two days were taken up with doctors appointments. Nothing to worry about. Just my six months checkup. You know how they are at M.D. Anderson. They don’t rest until they find out if you have any cancer left.
Plus it takes me longer to go anywhere now. The Mary Kay lady has a key to my house and it takes me forever to get ready. It’s no telling what I am rubbing on my face.
And you know lately I have a hard time opening things. Admittedly I’m not quite as strong as I used to be, but I think they are making things much stronger–ketchsup packs, cracker sleeves, you name it.
I remember years ago that in the most dire circumstances we might get out a pair of scissors to open a package. The other day, I bought a new hair curling thing that was shrink wrapped in hard plastic. My scissors wouldn’t even cut it. I needed a Texas chain saw massacre to get into it. I can understand making medicine bottles harder to tamper but we are talking about a hair curler here folks.
Okay, so next week I’ll try to stick my nose where it doesn’t belong or read something upside down on some official’s desk (I’m specially trained in that).