Jeff Meredith, the new executive director for the Monett Chamber of Commerce, talked about his work and the future role of the chamber at last week's meeting of the Monett Kiwanis Club.
A native of southwest Missouri and a graduate of Neosho High School, Meredith worked at the Joplin chamber for five and a-half years, serving the past two and a-half years as the administrative assistant. The Joplin chamber employs 16 people, preparing Meredith to work with a staff.
Meredith said the chamber is a membership and a community organization, with responsibilities and outreach available to both constituencies.
Meredith said he likes to be very active. He sees his broader role as helping the Monett community succeed. He has not yet established specific goals for himself at the chamber.
The chamber's role in economic development has been greatly helped in Monett by the partnership with the city, Meredith said. He would like to reach out to employers and do what he can to help them find more qualified employees.
Little gains can add up for companies. Meredith said if he could go to 20 businesses and help each of them add three or five employees, in a year's time the number of jobs in the community would grow. Meredith said he is satisfied with the way the Monett chamber has carried out its mission.
In speaking to prospective businesses, Meredith said he likes to emphasize that the number of people grows during the day from nearly 9,000 residents to nearly double that. The target audience of a retail business must include the workers, making the marketplace far bigger than the house numbers suggest.
Part of the chamber's work in Monett is running the Department of Motor Vehicles office. Meredith said the primary focus for the office needs to be customer service. When customers leave happy, the staff has done its job, he said.
Meredith moved to Monett over a month ago and is enjoying getting to know the community. He considers himself to be a proud parent of a seven-year-old son, who remains a big priority in his life.
Kiwanis President Eric Kean presided at the meeting. Frank Washburn served as acting program chairman.
The Kiwanis Club meets at noon on Tuesdays for a meal and a program, usually at Happy House restaurant.