Chamber leaders discuss priorities - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Chamber leaders discuss priorities

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LOUISVILLE, KY. (WDRB) -- They are the two new CEO's of two of the largest area chamber of commerce organizations.  Craig Richard, the CEO of Greater Louisville, Inc. and Wendy Chesser, CEO of One Southern Indiana, on Thursday morning appeared before Business First's semi-monthly What's Brewing breakfast series.

Richard has been on the job since the first of the year; he came from Houston.  Chesser, a Jeffersonville native, started her job in November.  Both have a lot of previous experience working for economic development agencies in other states.

The two were interviewed by Business First Publisher Tom Monahan. They also took questions from the audience at the Louisville International Convention Center in downtown Louisville.

Job creation was the main topic of discussion.  The goal is not only to bring in new companies to the region, but to help existing businesses grow and add workers.

Richard said he believes one way to create more jobs in the region is for businesses to set up their own apprentice and training programs.  "This is a type of program that can be replicated across various industry sectors," Richard told WDRB News, "whether it is health care, manufacturing, or even distribution and logistics."

Richard says he supports Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer's idea of a referendum on a local option sales tax.  "If you look at the recent polls," he explains, "72 percent of the people believe they should have the right to decide for themselves if they want to fund transformational projects."

In her comments to the audience Chesser said the best social program is a good job.  "We think about what people want for themselves," she says, "it is to take care of their families; to be a producer and not just a consumer, and also something that provides them with the stability that they can see their future in a positive light."

Both CEOs say they will work together for the improvement of the entire region.  New leaders should mean new ideas.  Both say their respective organizations are in the process of creating new strategic plans.

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