Our Chamber has witnessed a buzz of activity during these hot summer months, with several of our partners being in and out of our building for various purposes. On July 19 Townsend Underhill, Senior Vice President of Development of Stirling Properties, brought twenty young leaders from the NextGen Council of GNO, Inc. to our boardroom as part of their Northshore tour. We shared with them the mission, goals and current issues we are addressing as St. Tammany West’s Voice of Business.
During a period of growth and prior to the construction that is now underway for the Northshore Community Foundation’s new building called “NorthShare,” the foundation staff has called our office home since the summer of 2013. Our board agrees that their purpose and ours are in alignment, and they have been great neighbors/roommates, including the opportunity for us to have their stakeholders and board leaders in and out of our Chamber home. They will move into their new building across from the Justice Center in downtown Covington in November and although sad to see them go, we know they are looking forward to having space all of their own.
The St. Tammany Parish Tourist and Convention Commission, which obviously supports tourist destinations, hotels, restaurants, retailers, and festivals here in St. Tammany, is another valued collaborative partner. They sponsored our annual Cultural Economy luncheon recently, featuring our new Lieutenant Governor Billy Nungesser, at our beautiful jewel of downtown Covington, the Southern Hotel. Food was prepared by Chef Jeffrey Hansell of Ox Lot 9 and of course was a huge hit.
On our own front, our young professionals committee called the Northshore Rising Professionals, held their Summer of Service luncheon on August 9. Our Governmental Affairs Committee has been speaking up and calling important issues to the attention of our members and citizens in general. Of particular interest was the presentation by the Greater New Orleans Expressway Commission’s Carlton Dufrechou, General Manager of the Causeway. A full house was on hand to hear firsthand about the safety improvements planned and answers to questions about the longest bridge in the world that so many of us travel on a regular basis. While we do not consider ourselves to be the chamber of events, events do provide the opportunity to hear this type of information firsthand as well as the opportunity to personally meet high-ranking elected officials and appointed leaders.
Also of note, the first of several seminars on the Federal Department of Labor’s overtime ruling are underway. Southeastern Louisiana University’s Small Business Development Center hosted the first of these seminars in our boardroom on August 3. The Louisiana Association of Business and Industry has another set for 10:00am at their Conference Center in Baton Rouge on September 20. While chambers and businesses of all sizes strongly voiced opposition to this prospective new regulation, it was passed and will become effective on December 1. Employers will need to learn what makes a position nonexempt or exempt according to the new overtime laws; what overtime laws will change; how to properly classify positions; record-keeping methods; and solutions to meet various business needs.