Irwindale Chamber of Commerce
Your Business Resource, Advocate & Partner
by Marlene Carney, President/CEO, Irwindale Chamber on November 3rd, 2014

As we enter the holiday season, I think about all the things that I am grateful for.  I have a wonderful family and good friends, a great job, good health, a home.  I’m never hungry.  As I reflect on the things and people that make my life good, I also think about all those people that are not so lucky.  There are still so many that are unemployed, trying to make ends meet as we slowly recover from a deep recession.  There are those kids that, through circumstances that they did not cause, are lost and troubled.  There are those that are suffering with bad health, difficult home lives, and tough economic times; there are those that are hungry and not sure where that next meal is coming from.
Giving thanks, giving back and helping the less fortunate is at the core of what the holidays really mean.  A society that is going to succeed and be whole is one where people care about each other.  I believe that over the years, the business community in Irwindale has shown that it is a caring and compassionate one.   The past has shown that this diverse economy that includes some of the largest companies in the country and many small to medium sized businesses have gone above and beyond in their generosity to those that are less fortunate. 
There are many organizations in the Irwindale region that serve so many in need and will be part of our “Spirit of Giving”.  Many businesses and their employees will be looking to see what they can do to help and be part of that spirit. This issue of “Insights” provides a list of the many non-profit organizations that serve a wide variety of individuals and causes and  they will be looking for donations both monetary and in-kind.  We encourage everyone to take a moment and see where they can do something that will make a difference in the life of someone that may not be in a good place.
I also want to use this moment to say thank you.  I started this job in mid February and it has proven to be a very rewarding one primarily because of the wonderful people that are part of this thriving chamber.  First and foremost, the chamber’s board of directors are engaged and dedicated to this chamber.  They are a great group to work with, are dynamic, very supportive and I consider them great partners in our continuing quest to be a great and relevant chamber.  I also have a fabulous team in the office.  Veronica Orosco has been with the organization for about thirteen years.  Her responsibilities include managing the office, some accounting functions, managing the membership database, the monthly newsletter and weekly e-blasts.  Love Larimore has been with the organization for about 18 months and is our Event Manager and her responsibilities include managing all of our events, managing the committees and growing the membership through the development of new programs and services.  They have made my job easier and have made it a pleasure to come to work each day.  I also work with some of the best volunteers.  Our Business Ambassadors, the Environmental Committee, the Golf Tournament Committee, the newly formed HR Roundtable and Small Business Roundtable team and everyone that has participated at some level have proven that this is one of the best local chambers in the region.  The chamber of commerce industry is a people industry and we have some of the best people serving the organization. 
I am saying thank you to all of you because you have made a difference in my life by your enthusiasm, your dedication, your hard work and your commitment to an organization that works to build a strong local economy and vibrant community.  Thank you for making a difference in so many lives.  

by Marlene Carney on August 10th, 2014

Congratulations to the Irwindale City Council and Huy Fong Foods in their successful resolution of a recent issue that received quite a bit of media attention.  The Irwindale Chamber values the presence of Huy Fong Foods in this community and appreciates the fabulous product they produce and the important role they play in building the region’s local economy.  We want them to continue to operate in Irwindale and to continue to grow and prosper.    We look forward to assisting them as they look to expand in the future. 
In my role at the Irwindale Chamber, I have had the opportunity to meet with many businesses and to get to know many of the fine leaders and individuals who work tirelessly each day to make Irwindale the fine city that it is.  Approximately 60,000 plus people drive into Irwindale each day to work.   Here are some of the reasons why Irwindale continues to be a major business center and great place to do business:

Irwindale is near excellent transportation facilities, highly respected educational institutions, a wide range of cultural activities and many recreational and entertainment opportunities.  Irwindale enjoys a superior location in the heart of the East San Gabriel Valley.  With four major freeways at our borders, Irwindale has convenient access to all markets in Southern California.Irwindale has a variety of healthcare options, from specialists to general health.  Hospitals and medical groups that serve Irwindale include Citrus Valley Health Partners, Kaiser Permanente, and City of Hope.Education is a big priority in the Irwindale community.  Residents have access to public schools, private schools and a number of colleges and universities closely surround the city.  Four top public school districts serve K-12 students in the Irwindale region: Covina Valley Unified, Azusa Unified, Duarte Unified and Baldwin Park Unified. The Irwindale Educational Foundation, a 501(c)3 tax exempt nonprofit organization originating in 1987 is dedicated to the betterment of the youth through its scholarship program.  This program benefits the residential community but also the businesses that are located in Irwindale and who are members of the Irwindale Chamber.Irwindale is the location for Southern California Edison’s (SCE) Energy Education Center, which is “a source of energy efficiency information for business owners and operators, architects and designers, operations and facility managers, contractors, engineers or anyone wanting to learn about the latest in state-of-the-art technology for saving energy, money and the environment. “Irwindale is home to a diverse cross-section of businesses including MillerCoors, Davis Wire, Vulcan Materials, United Rock, Hanson Aggregates, Ready Pac Produce,  California Custom Fruits and Flavors, Breeders Choice, City of Hope,  Charter Communications, Huy Fong Foods, Ayutla Market, Picasso’s Café and Bakery, Nellson Nutraceutical, just to name a few.   A population of small to medium sized businesses continues to grow featuring restaurants, professional services, light manufacturing, high tech industries, financial institutions and more.Both the city and the Irwindale Chamber are dedicated to providing assistance and resources to help businesses succeed and prosper.  The Chamber is also dedicated to promoting the community and its vibrant and prosperous quality of life. As the President/CEO of the Irwindale Chamber, I am thrilled that Huy Fong Foods, the city of Irwindale and the local resident community are working together to build jobs and a strong local economy.  The rest of the world should know that Irwindale is a vibrant and positive place to do business and perhaps it is because, in this city, we recognize that a prosperous and vibrant city can only be accomplished when business, residents and government work collaboratively so that the end product is a prosperous and thriving community that works for everyone.  

by Marlene Carney on May 8th, 2014

Business Matters
By Marlene Carney
President/CEO, Irwindale Chamber
One of the biggest challenges facing the U.S. today is the continued need for entrepreneurs, job creation and a skilled and educated workforce.  In today’s global economy, it will be the countries that can produce these three things that will lead the world. 

“The Coming Jobs War” by Jim Clifton provides a hard-hitting study of what the United States needs to address in order to remain a global economic leader. This must read book highlights the fact that the United State is losing its position as a world economic leader.  Countries like China, Brazil and India are moving forward as world leaders based on the findings from the Gallup World Poll. 

Jim Clifton raises a few key points in his book which was published in 2011 that we all need to pay attention to:
  •  “Thirty million Americans are unemployed or underemployed — in other words, 30 million Americans don’t have a good job.
  • Of those 30 million, 18 million people report that they have no hope of finding a job; many of them also have no hope of paying the mortgage, feeding their children or buying gas for the car to get to a job interview — and they have no reason to think things will change.
  • America needs five million new good jobs right now and a minimum of 10 million new good jobs, net gained, within five years.
  • Almost all new jobs are created by startups and small and medium-sized companies.
  • Student graduation is one of the most definitive predictors of a city’s future innovation, entrepreneurship and subsequent job and GDP growth.”

At the recent Irwindale Chamber’s State of the City, we were all impressed by Casey La who spoke to the audience and reaffirmed his appreciation for the scholarship he received from the Irwindale Educational Foundation (IEF).  We applaud him as he is now attending UCLA.  Hearing him moved the audience and reminded us of the importance of the IEF and the role it plays in producing an educated youth who will one day be part of America’s economic future.
Since 1989, the Irwindale Educational Foundation, an IRS 501(c)(3)-recognized charitable organization, has been granting scholarships to qualified Irwindale residents and businesses to provide them with opportunities for career development. The program offers limited financial assistance for college and vocational students and for continuing students making good academic progress.  Scholarship grants are available to current Irwindale residents and to employees of qualified Irwindale Chamber of Commerce members including their spouses and dependents.   All applicants, to be considered for scholarships, must maintain a minimum 2.0 (cumulative) grade point average.

Since 2002, the Irwindale Educational Foundation has been able to provide approximately $380,000 in scholarships to over 250 deserving students in the Irwindale community.  Our goal in 2014 is to raise $40,000 plus for scholarships.

​On Sunday, June 22, the IEF will present “A Day at the Races” at Santa Anita Park.  It will be a great family event which will include trackside viewing from the infield area; lunch, raffle prizes and 50/50, fun activities for children and parking.  All for only $30 for adults and $10 for guests that are 17 and under. 

A private event “Club 40” will be held on July 18 at the exclusive MillerCoors Pub.  A Sponsorship is required to be part of Club 40.   Sponsorships range from $500 to $5,000 and are 100% tax deductible. Education is a key component of a successful country.  The youth in our region deserve to have an excellent and relevant educational experience that results in a good job.  Irwindale, the county, the State and the country will succeed because business leaders continue to step up and partner with education.  And that is why business matters. 

by Marlene Carney on March 20th, 2014

A month into the world of Irwindale business and I am impressed and proud to be leading the Irwindale Chamber.  Irwindale boasts a diverse business mix consisting of some of the most respected businesses in the nation.   The community has over 700 businesses that are successful and involved in the success of their community.  The Irwindale Chamber is well known as an effective and dynamic organization where business connections are made daily that have resulted in long term lucrative business relationships.  That is the magic of a local chamber and being a member of the Irwindale Chamber is definitely a positive business strategy.
According to a 2012 study, commissioned by the American Chamber of Commerce Executives (ACCE) and conducted by The Schapiro Group, an Atlanta-based strategic consulting firm it was determined that consumer perceptions of chamber members to be positive in many ways.  “When consumers know that a small business is a member of the chamber of commerce, they are 49% more likely to think favorably of it and 80% more likely to purchase goods or services from the company in the future.” In addition, “consumer intent to patronize a national restaurant franchise rises by 68% with knowledge of chamber membership. Favorable perceptions about insurance companies increase 36%.”
The Irwindale Chamber Board of Directors represents some of the most well respected businesses in the region: MillerCoors, Athens Services, Picasso’s Bakery and Café, Arrow Automotive Services, Securitas Security Services, SCE Federal Credit Union, Alta Pacific Bank, Vulcan Materials, LeRoy Haynes Center, Ayutla Market, Doubletree by Hilton in Monrovia, Foothill Transit, James A. Gallo (Attorney at Law), Southern CA Edison, Gale Banks Engineering, and California Custom Fruits and Flavors.  The membership includes hundreds of businesses and organizations; both large and small representing a wide array of business sectors.  The Chamber’s program mix continues to include a mix of relevant information, connection opportunities, community engagement, workshops, marketing, advertising and partnerships that result in a growing and thriving local economy and prosperous community. 
Relationships matter and we all tend to do business with those we trust and have developed a relationship.  Even in today’s world of texts, emails and social media, a face to face, one on one conversation with someone still matters.  The Irwindale Chamber understands that and makes it possible for businesses to connect at events, through the website and through involvement in relevant programs.
I invite business owners and representatives in the Irwindale region to invest in the Irwindale Chamber, become a member and experience the benefit of belonging to a chamber that cares about business, cares about the community and remains one of the most credible business groups in the area.
And, that’s why business matters.