If you take a glance at just a couple of the numerous projects the Chamber has taken on in recent years, you would find it no surprise the Indiana Chamber Executives Association awarded Southwest Indiana Chamber CEO Christy Gillenwater as 2017 Executive of the Year.
“I’ve spent two decades in Chamber and Economic Development work, and I just have such a love and passion for what I do and for the impact chambers have,” says Gillenwater, “And not just chambers here in our region, but chambers throughout the country.”
Gillenwater attributes the award not to herself, but to the incredible team she says helped make the Southwest Indiana Chamber what it is today.
Since arriving in January 2013, Gillenwater has been amazed at the improvements made over the years. The Chamber currently is working on a number of projects, including the completion of I-69, the resurgence of Downtown, improving public policy, and creating the “e is for everyone” branding initiative seen around Evansville.
Construction on I-69 still is at full speed says Gillenwater, with hopes to have the interstate completed to Indianapolis soon. The Chamber also is collaborating with Kyndle, previously the Henderson Chamber, in order to complete the I-69 bridge.
Another important step to further develop the city, she points out, has been the branding of Evansville. Planning for the “e is for everyone” campaign began near the time Gillenwater joined the Southwest Indiana Chamber and was launched earlier this year.
“We have had a lot of accolades from chambers throughout the country who have said, ‘That is brilliant, the way you guys went about it. It’s such a coalition in the community of other economic development partners, the way it was really locally birthed,’” she says. “‘e is for everyone’ is inclusive and no matter your age, your background, or your ethnicity, you can be successful here.”
In addition to the many projects undertaken since her arrival, the Chamber now has eight alliances along with the Small Business Development Center, including the Diverse Business Alliance, the Family Business Alliance, the Latino Chamber Alliance, and the Non-profit Alliance. The abundance of unique relationships has encouraged coalition building and collaborating together to build our community, says Gillenwater.
As other cities are beginning to max out, Gillenwater and the Chamber are hopeful people will take notice of the River City. They continue to work hard to make Evansville and the Southwest Indiana area a place where people want to build a life and where businesses can continue to flourish.
For more information on the Southwest Indiana Chamber, call 812-425-8147 or visit swinchamber.com.