When I assumed the role of Charlotte Chamber Chair last November, I predicted a year of realized outrageous aspirations. We at the Chamber continue to set each goal higher than ever before, and to make this community’s advantages broadly known.
Eight months later, we have already achieved many remarkable moments, and nearly all of them have had some link to Charlotte’s role as host of the 2012 Democratic National Convention. The DNC shines the spotlight of the world stage on our Queen City. Delegates from all 50 states, 15,000 journalists, and more than 350 foreign leaders will experience Charlotte and her amenities beginning this weekend.
The DNC provides an unprecedented chance to tell the Charlotte story. We will use this next week to promote Charlotte’s economic development. The Chamber’s plan is strategic and multifaceted.
Last September, we contacted Fortune 1000 CEOs across the country and invited them to visit Charlotte during the DNC. Our outreach letters included fact sheets about the region and an offer of assistance for their business needs.
Together with the City of Charlotte, Charlotte Center City Partners (CCCP), Charlotte Regional Partnership (CRP) and the Charlotte Regional Visitors Authority (CRVA), the Chamber hired the consulting firm of Odell, Simms & Lynch to identify high level executives attending the DNC who might be interested in moving their companies to Charlotte. The focus sectors are energy, finance and health care/life sciences.
The Chamber’s public relations team will cover the DNC for the entire event, from the media party on Saturday until the President accepts the nomination late Thursday night. Together with CCCP, CRP, CRVA and the DNC Host Committee, the team will work to tell our story and, thereby, have a lasting impact on future economic development.
The Chamber is fortunate to serve as host for the National Democratic Institute which is chaired by former U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright. Some 350 foreign dignitaries will spend this Labor Day touring Charlotte while learning about our energy, health care and education sectors.
In the weeks following the DNC, the Chamber’s economic development department will target 32 Fortune 500 CEOs in markets where job recruitment is challenged; sending each a Kindle Fire tablet equipped with a dynamic, seven minute long video of Charlotte and stunning still photos. While the experience of the convention is still fresh on many American’s minds, we want to remind them of Charlotte’s competitive advantages -- low cost of living, great quality of life, educated workforce and air, road and rail connectivity. Of course, the Charlotte Douglas International Airport is among our greatest assets.
So whether you are a Democrat, Republican, or Independent, the success of the DNC is critical to Charlotte’s economic future. Be assured that your Chamber of Commerce has a laser focus on making the most of Charlotte’s time on stage. A decade ago, hosting a quadrennial political convention was considered a pipe dream. In true Charlotte style we have realized that aspiration. Now is the time to identify the next outrageous aspirations for our great City.
Enjoy the Convention!
Frank E. Emory, Jr.
Charlotte Chamber Chair