Letter To Editor 2023 Year in Review From Chamber President

Typewriter with paper reading "Letters to the Editor"

To Our Members:

 2023 has been a very busy year for our Chamber. We’ve had a record number of ribbon cuttings, spectacular community events, and have made updates to our bylaws to help our Chamber thrive for the years to come. One of our main goals was to start bringing different organizations together and that’s a goal I believe we accomplished as evident in our final luncheon of the year.

It really takes village to run a non-profit such as the Chamber of Commerce. Our board puts in a lot of time behind the scenes to help grow our business community in the greater Deer Park area. I would like to take some time to thank each of our board member that donated their time this past year…

Kelsie Carlson (Vice President) has been my go-to person all year. She’s a tremendously successful entrepreneur that cares deeply about our community. As VP, I relied on her opinion and thoughts on almost any decision I made this year. She’s extremely creative and was instrumental in coming up with great ideas in all our events and marketing tactics for 2023. I’m extremely happy to see her continue to be on the board for 2024 to keep up the momentum going.

Shannon Siemen (Treasurer/Finance Committee Chair) kept all our finances in order and was key in helping us get back to our pre-covid position financially. She’s definitely the best of us on the microphone and stepped up big in all of our events for the year including being our auctioneer for our annual gala. She’s always the first to step up to the plate and keeping us organized. Her commitment in helping our Chamber Board succeed over the last several years has not gone unnoticed.

Angie Jones (Secretary/Fundraising and Events Committee Chair) was that spark of energy we needed. She had some of the best ideas in raising money and creating events for our community. She was instrumental in starting our 5K Sunflower Fun Run, bringing back our annual golf tournament, and our gala just to name a few. I’m excited to see her back on the board for 2024.

Jennifer Shorts (Economic Development Committee Chair) probably has more love for this town than anyone I know. She’s extremely passionate about the beautification of Deer Park and is well on her way to making it happen. She is pretty much the person responsible for the Chamber partnering with the City of Deer Park and “Retail Strategies” to get professionals out here to help attract the types of businesses that people keep asking for. Can’t wait to see her continue her work into 2024!

KC Longley was the most articulate member of our board. He did a tremendous job moderating the School Board forum and pitching the new holiday lights to the city. He’s the reason why the display in front of city hall looks better than it ever has before. He’s extremely detail oriented and we’re lucky to have his expertise in continuing to make our annual holiday celebration better and better every year.

Emma Siemen definitely wins the award for the most creative board member. She was key in snapping photos throughout the year and coming up with the designs used in many of our events. She also did an amazing job taking Grinch photos for our community. She was also extremely tech savvy and helped out tremendously in that arena in addition to helping make all of our events a big success.

John Simpson was key in getting our processes in order. Our goal was to make the transition of a new board as seamless as possible for the years to come and he’s been the key driver in making that happen. He has also been the “muscle” of the group and always steps in when asked to make things happen. His work on our Economic Development committee has been greatly appreciated.

Finally, the engine that kept us running, Kelsey Pitts! As our Membership Coordinator, she’s the Swiss Army knife that does it all! She sets up speakers for our luncheons, answers all our member questions, runs our social media, grows our membership pool, and so much more! Our last luncheon, where we had all our local non-profits come to speak, was by far our most well attended meeting of the year. She deserves all the credit for that idea and making it happen. Our Chamber is surely blessed to have Kelsey keeping us on task!

I’m extremely proud of all the hard work these individuals put forward this year. I’ve spent 4 of my 5 years as a business owner on the Chamber Board and I’ve never felt a group that’s been so motivated to help our local business community. In the coming days, you will receive a letter introducing all the new board members for 2024.

As for me, I will be resigning as President and board member effective December 31st as I transition to a new position in public service. However, I will definitely still be around and continue to be one of the biggest advocates for the growth and prosper of our business community.

It’s been a pleasure to serve you all and I wish you great success in ending 2023 strong and best of luck in 2024!


Billy Costello, President

Reprinted with permission.
Letters to the Editor are not edited or corrected for content or grammar. 

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