Happy Anniversary | Appreciation Party Update

Membership appreciation party update: Forno Piombo, a Napa Valley-born company that builds handmade pizza ovens, will join us at Kennedy Park on Saturday, July 18, making pizza and showcasing their fast-growing business for Napa Chamber of Commerce members. Father-and-son team Guy and Tony Piombo’s ovens can be found in restaurants, wineries and homes throughout the valley. Check out their story at FornoPiombo.com.

Labor law and Leads Over Lunch: Thank you members who helped create the recent buzz surrounding these two important NCC programs. Two consecutive sold-out labor law events in Napa and Calistoga, and a near-capacity audience in American Canyon, helped showcase the importance of informing the Napa County business community of local, state and federal laws that constantly change and affect our workplace.

Kudos to labor/employment attorney Rick Rybicki of Rybicki and Associates, and Paul Hicks, vice president of development at Payroll Masters — both NCC board and executive committee members — who spearheaded the effort to inform/advise Chamber members throughout the valley on the new mandatory sick leave law that took effect on July 1.

Can’t explain the sudden popularity of the Leads Over Lunch program, but after months of tweaking the format, it’s arrived at a point where members have returned to give it another chance. We’ve sold out two consecutive events to the tune of 110 total attendees.

I’m certain Kelly Macdonald, executive chef at the Napa Valley Wine Train, and the commissary location both contribute to the newfound popularity. I’m hopeful that NCC members are beginning to better understand the effort and energy we put behind our mission to engage and connect, while facilitating opportunities of collaboration with/among our members — past, present and future.

Happy anniversary: My appointment as president/CEO was officially announced in June 2014, yet I’ll admit I truly hit the ground running in July after returning from a previously scheduled family vacation. My first month I secured an agreement with the NBA champion Golden State Warriors to spend four days of training camp here in Napa, holding two-a-day practice sessions at Napa Valley College.

August brought a natural disaster that sent us into a mad scramble to assist in the relief and recovery of our entire community. In October, the Warriors canceled after receiving news of the damage experienced at the Andaz. That same month we hosted a “business as usual” Business Expo, which took on a theme of its own amid the recovery. True to form, this amazing Napa Valley business community rallied around us, and the result was one of our best events ever.

January ushered in a new year, with a new outlook and a new board of directors. We’ve welcomed new businesses and said goodbye to others; we’ve endorsed and supported and the Legislative Action Committee is engaged in every important issue facing the city and county. It’s July of 2015 and we continue to “reopen” local businesses affected by the earthquake (welcome back Carpe Diem). I’m encouraged and inspired, appreciative and a little tired. Thank you for your continued support.