One-on-One with Sarah MacQuiddy — president of the Greeley Area Chamber of Commerce

Each month, BizWest asks a business leader to participate in a question and answer feature to help shed light on a business topic, an industry or add insight to a field of endeavor. This month, Sarah MacQuiddy, president of the Greeley Area Chamber of Commerce, which is celebrating its 100th anniversary this year.

BizWest: The Greeley Area Chamber of Commerce is celebrating its 100th year anniversary. To what do you attribute this longevity?

Sarah MacQuiddy: The Greeley Chamber has a long, rich history of supporting and promoting the commercial activity in Greeley.  It’s work dates back to the 1920s when the chamber commissioned a geological survey to be in a position to give advice to land owners concerning the possibility of finding oil or gas in the county.  The foresight of the chamber’s survey helped to bring oil production to Weld County.  Our founders were the true visionaries for Greeley and Weld County.

The chamber supported early water projects and advocated for highway development programs that led to the appropriation of $2 million toward the building of a new four-lane highway (U.S. Highway 85). The chamber purchased land to create the first planned industrial site outside of Denver in 1954.  This purchase accelerated the addition of jobs and the local payrolls.

The board of directors oversaw the formation of the Greeley Stampede and the Economic Development Advisory Board (EDAB).  The success of the chamber can be attributed to those who had a vision and anticipated the area’s future economic needs.

BW: Describe how you see the changing role of chambers in business communities?

MacQuiddy: Our work will remain important to assure that we are working behalf of business with government.  Having the business voice at the table is critical to assure that we not putting undue pressure on business and placing mandates on business that will have often unintended consequences.

We have to help figure out the changing and the lack of available workforce.  Once we have workers, will we have affordable housing for them?  Chambers bring that organized business voice to the table. 

BW: As the Greeley Area Chamber begins its second 100 years, what do you see as the primary responsibility for the organization?

MacQuiddy: Fulfilling the mission of the organization (to enhance the economic vitality of our community) through work in our five core function areas:

• Partnering with other organizations on initiatives that are important to job attraction and retention.

• Continuing our work in promoting Greeley as a destination for meetings and sporting events.  Celebrating a positive image and attitude about our community.

• Providing business connection and referral opportunities that are meaningful events for businesses.

• Continuing the important work of Northern Colorado Legislative Alliance, our partnership with the Fort Collins and Loveland chambers, Upstate Colorado and One NoCo to be the voice for business in Northern Colorado.

• Building community leadership through educational programs and opportunities for engagement — we will graduate our 35th Leadership Weld County class this year!  We will continue our partnership with the Small Business Development Center in offering free business-building seminars to our investors.

BW: What do you, personally, find to be most fulfilling in your role as chamber leader?

MacQuiddy: The most fulfilling part of my job is the opportunity to work with so many dedicated volunteers.  From our board of directors to the committee volunteers, the work that gets done for our community is to be applauded.  They have invested thousands of hours on behalf of  business to make strong leadership programs, advocate for business with government, help connect businesses to new prospects, and promote the community.

BW: You have a birds-eye view of successful and struggling businesses. What’s advice would you give to a new small business to help position it for success?

MacQuiddy: There are tremendous resources for the business community — of course, I would say that investing in a chamber and utilization of all the free business resources should be priority number one.

Contacting the Small Business Development Center for all its free consulting services is an important step for any business. The SBDC can help with marketing and with mapping out a sales strategy that is just right for the business.

Each month, BizWest asks a business leader to participate in a question and answer feature to help shed light on a business topic, an industry or add insight to a field of endeavor. This month, Sarah MacQuiddy, president of the Greeley Area Chamber of Commerce, which is celebrating its 100th anniversary this year.

BizWest: The Greeley Area Chamber of Commerce is celebrating its 100th year anniversary. To what do you attribute this longevity?

Sarah MacQuiddy: The Greeley Chamber has a long, rich history of supporting and promoting the commercial activity in Greeley.  It’s work dates back to the 1920s when the chamber commissioned a geological survey to be in a position to give advice to land owners concerning the possibility of finding oil or gas in the county.  The foresight of the chamber’s survey helped to bring oil production to Weld County.  Our founders were the true visionaries for Greeley and Weld County.

The chamber supported early water projects and advocated for highway development programs that led to the appropriation of $2 million toward the building of a new four-lane highway (U.S. Highway 85). The chamber purchased land to create the first planned industrial site outside of Denver in 1954.  This purchase accelerated the addition of jobs and the local payrolls.

The board of directors oversaw the formation of the Greeley Stampede and the Economic Development Advisory Board (EDAB).  The success of the chamber can…