Dear Members:

Happy Birthday to us!!!  We ring in a New Year that marks our Chamber’s 100th Anniversary—a Centennial Celebration for which planning began three years ago.  2018 ECCI Board of Directors Chair Ken Bartels of Community Bank of Elmhurst and Ken Bartels Consulting, says it best:  “Centennials are very special whenever they happen.”

Our Centennial Celebration officially kicks off with the 99th Annual Awards Gala and 100th Birthday Bash (click HERE to party with us) at The Drake Oak Brook Hotel on Friday, January 26, and will conclude in January of 2019 at the 100th Awards Gala.

Sponsored by Suburban Bank & Trust and Inland Bank, our Awards Gala will honor:
Brewpoint Coffee as the A.J. “Toche” Terrones Business of the Year for 2017;
*  Board of Directors Treasurer Ralph Pechanio as the Chairman’s Award recipient;
*  Nancy Peterson of Elmhurst-Yorkfield Food Pantry as Ambassador of the Year; and
*  Jack Island of The Silverado Grill as the 26th inductee into our Civic Hall of Fame.

At our 98th Awards Gala in January of 2017, I unveiled plans for staging a $250,000 Centennial Celebration Capital Campaign—starting with a $100,000 gift by Ralph Pechanio to endow the Chamber’s $150,000 Ralph P. Pechanio Student Internship Fund at Elmhurst College and my $25,000 pledge to the $100,000 Second Century Fund (which included $50,000 for development a public Civic Hall of Fame Memorial).

My first EC student intern as Chamber President and CEO, Julie Miller of IRS Trouble Solvers succeeds Bartels as Chair of the Centennial Celebration Committee for 2018.

Since going “public” as part of last September’s Chamber of Commerce Month activities, our Capital Campaign is at 67 percent of goal, with $168,818 in gifts and pledges.

Thanks to recent donations by Pechanio (yet again), Elmhurst Lions Club and yours truly, the Pechanio Endowment Fund is at 81 percent of goal.

The Second Century Fund is at 48 percent of goal, with the unrestricted goal at 79 percent and Civic Hall of Fame goal at 19 percent.  Lakeside Bank, Prairie Display/
Chicago (Gift-In-Kind) and Vital Signs USA (GIF) made unrestricted gifts, 2008 Civic Hall of Fame inductee Jan Pauli, City of Elmhurst City Manager Jim Grabowski and Elmhurst Park District Director Jim Rogers contributed to the Civic Hall of Fame project, and Kordik Law Firm contributed to both causes.

The 2018 Elmhurst Community Directory, which will be delivered via Every Door Direct Mail to some 19,200 Elmhurst residences, businesses and post office boxes in a few weeks, features an eight-page centerspread Special Section about our first 100 years.

Already a Chamber member twice over, Elmhurst Mayor Steve Morley kick started our Anniversary by signing up his marketing and consulting firm, Every Door Direct Media, as the first new member in the Chamber’s 100/100/100/100 Campaign—which offers membership for $100 to the first 100 new members in the first 100 days of our 100th year.

Director of Member Services Tessa Zemgulys and the 2018 Membership Committee, now under the leadership of Second Vice Chair Lori Murray of Inland Bank, will be following up on a prospect list of some 380 Elmhurst businesses solicited by letter.

The 2018 Marketing Committee, with First Vice Chair Kevin Kost of Edward Jones Investments succeeding Bartels as Chair, will work to increase our Chamber’s Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn social media page footprint in 2018.

In preparation for our 100th Anniversary—the Marketing Committee in 2017 worked to rebranded the Chamber by creating a new logo featuring a six-color Elm leaf (with Centennial Celebration version), redesigning the website to be “responsive” to all accessing platforms and maximize Search Engine Optimization, designing a portable 8’-by-8’ popup screen promotional display along with 40” TV monitor and completing development of our first-ever Communications Plan.

Rebranding covered polo-style Ambassador shirts and Centennial Celebration shirts for the Directors and staff, New Resident Greeter Program totes, static-cling membership window decals, event-related signage, banners and tablecloths, letterhead (with Centennial Celebration version) and business cards, and more.

Also in 2018, the Pechanio-chaired Ways and Means Committee, in partnership with Ohio-based Late for the Sky, will produce an Elmhurst-Opoly board game to market our community to residents and visitors, with proceeds benefitting the Second Century Fund.

Happy Anniversaries
Six members are celebrating Chamber anniversaries in January, as follows:  15 yearsLiberty Village; 10 yearsArchitects’ Studio and BMO Harris Bank; and 5 yearsConquer Myasthenia Gravis, DuPage Cycling Foundation and Friends of Steve Morley.

New Members
The Chamber welcomed nine new members in December as follows:  Allen Q. Jones Agency – Farmers Insurance, Balance Wellness Center, Brewpoint Workshop & Roastery, Elmhurst Brewing Co., Every Door Direct Media, Kimmer’s Ice Cream, Kinetic Energy Consulting, LPL Financial and Rosario Carrillo Illustration & Design.

No Longer Members
The Chamber said goodbye to the following two members in December:  Brain Freeze and Tax Advisory Services.

New Year’s Resolution
For 2018, I resolve to be less skeptical (pragmatic is my preferred word, being a former newspaperman) of both ideas and intentions…but I doubt it.