Message from the Executive Director
A generosity of spirit exists here in Yuma that can’t be found anywhere else. Our sense of community will make you feel welcome in a matter of seconds. As I begin my 5th year as your Executive Director, I want to extend my appreciation and gratitude to my Board of Directors, our tireless team of Ambassador volunteers, and the 750 + member businesses of the Yuma County Chamber of Commerce. We are doing everything we can to make this your Chamber of Commerce, based on your needs, your inspirations, your successes, and your goals. Based on your input, we have introduced training programs, a “Lunch & Learn” series of events and a South County Partnership. Our other successes include the S. June Pallack Excellence in Education Awards, the South County Social, and the Summer Works in Yuma program. We will continue to advocate for you to keep taxes low, to keep government small and to keep government out of your businesses. We are vigilant at the local, state, regional and national level and work tirelessly to make sure that all of you are represented. We collaborate with our City, County, State, and Federal elected officials and the cooperation has been wonderful. We’ve stayed highly engaged in Education Funding Reform, Impact Fees, water issues and widening Highway 95. We have wonderful partnerships with the Greater Yuma Economic Development Corporation, the Yuma Visitors Bureau (Visit Yuma), and the Better Business Bureau. We also collaborate with the City of Yuma, Yuma County, the Somerton Chamber of Commerce, the Arizona Chamber Executives, Arizona @ Work, the Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry, and the Western Association of Chamber Executives. Additionally, we are members of the Yuma County Fair Board, BetterYuma.Org, the Yuma Southwest Contractors Association, the Yuma Area Agriculture Council, the Yuma Association of Realtors, Yuma Education Advocacy Council, and the American Business Women’s Association. We at the Yuma County Chamber of Commerce will continue to represent you to help make your businesses better. Of course, we want you to “Think Yuma First!” The Chamber’s Administrative Assistant, Sheryl Hehe, understands the chamber world, as this former Criminal used to be the Executive Director of the Ft. Lupton CO Chamber of Commerce. The Outreach and Events Coordinator, Tania Pavlak, understands the non-profit world, as she was the Program Director of the Salvation Army Boys and Girls Club. We work for you; keep us busy! The cornerstone of our marketing efforts is our “Shop Locally” program. We focus daily on making businesses in Yuma County prosperous and shopping locally drives that success. It is my honor to serve the business people of Yuma County, Arizona. I welcome your thoughts, ideas, letters and most importantly, your involvement with the Yuma County Chamber of Commerce.
John Courtis, Executive Director
Message from the Chairman
On behalf of the Board of Directors for the Yuma County Chamber of Commerce, it is my sincere honor and privilege to serve as the 2019/20 chairperson for our area’s premier business organization. Yuma, AZ is a unique community; having grown up here, I have experienced first-hand the secret of why folks love living here. Few other communities in the country that have the generosity and individual giving spirit that almost all Yumans have, we are always open to helping a fellow Yuman or one the hundreds of outstanding non-profits we have serving Yuma. I am excited to continue to grow our already solid relationships with other non-profit and civic organizations, as the Caballeros de Yuma, Hospice of Yuma, Amberly’s Place, Greater Yuma Economic Development Corporation, and Visit Yuma. With our dedicated Chamber staff (which is the best) and an incredible and invaluable team of volunteer ambassadors, we will continue to uphold the mission of Yuma County Chamber of Commerce. That mission is to represent our membership by advocating for a healthy economic climate through the effective use of our unique regional resources to enhance the quality of life in the Greater Yuma area. Our expanding partnerships in South Yuma County – specifically San Luis, Somerton, and Gadsden – are integral to our collective economy, and we are thrilled to be representing those communities as well.
One promise I make to all of the members is that I will always put the interest of Yumans and our Yuma County business community first. It is an exciting time to live here, the economy is doing well, and we have several potential projects coming up that will portray Yuma in a very positive light. My personal favorite is the possible Space Port! Yuma could be launching satellites into space in the next few years. I remember my younger years and looking up in the sky to see McDonnell Douglas testing new airline jets and wondering if we would ever have real commercial aircraft flying in and out of Yuma. Well, that is a reality now, because of the superb work the board at the Yuma County Airport is doing. Today we even have direct flights to Dallas/Fort Worth a major American Airlines hub. Our military partners are also doing some amazing things and continue to excel. MCAS has the first operational Marine F-35-squadron and YPG continues to expand it’s testing with NASA and tech giants like Google.
The Board of Directors and I are eager to give our time and expertise to this organization because we realize the immense value Yuma County Chamber of Commerce brings to our members and the community. We will stay the course as the voice of local business on the state and national stage, working on Yuma’s behalf on critical issues like legislation, military, transportation, and education. If you are not yet a member, please join us. Be my guest at a Good Morning Yuma breakfast, or stop by a monthly mixer. You will see the incredible networking opportunities and meet a group of well-informed people who are as eager to grow our local economy as you are. Your Chamber has recently installed a new program called “Chamber Master” which allows the Chamber to track requests/communications/questions from our members and allows for instant updates to their member listing. I also encourage everyone to use the directory to find goods and services provided by businesses right here in Yuma County. Spend more time in homegrown shops and see what your neighbors have to offer. Lastly, I would like to give a heartfelt thanks to our members and volunteers. Without you, Yuma County Chamber of Commerce could not operate as the best business organization in our area.
Chairperson of the Board, 2019/20
Community Relations Officer, 1st Bank Yuma