Mission Statement / The Vandalia Chamber of Commerce serves its members by encouraging & supporting: Business Growth, Economic Development, Tourism, and Networking Opportunities
Board of Directors
President: Todd Stapleton - WPMB/WKRV Radio
Vice President: Kelly Washburn - Fayette County Real Estate
Secretary: Joe Schaal - First National Bank
Treasurer: Pat Click - McKeller, Robertson, McCarty & Click Insurance
Past President: Brock Brannon - First National Bank, Investment Centers of America
Sally Emerick- Holiday Inn Express
Rick Myers — LeFevre, Oldfield, Myers, Apke & Payne Law Group
Sandy Stempinski — Heart & Home Realty
Kelly Washburn- Fayette County Real Estate
Todd Stapleton — WPMB/WKRV
Pat Click — McKellar, Robertson, McCarty & Click Insurance
Joe Schaal - First National Bank
Ricky Gottman — Fayette County Hospital/Mayor of Vandalia
Doug Knebel — Midland States Bank
Brian Stout — Stout Adjustment Service
William Lyle — John H. Crawford & Associates
John Goldsmith — First National Bank
Drake Thompson — The Turning Leaf
Ben Frazier -- Family YMCA of Fayette County
Ambassador: Sally Emerick
Banquet: Jennifer Richards
Building & Grounds: TBA
New Business Social Hour: TBA
Ways & Means: TBA
Government Relations: Todd Stapleton
Professional Development: TBA
2016 President- Todd Stapleton
Stapleton Talks About Chamber's 2016 Goals at Annual Banquet
Teamwork. That was the theme of my speech at this year’s Chamber banquet and that's what it is going to take for our Chamber and our community to grow and prosper. Over this past year, the Vandalia Chamber of Commerce has partnered with the City of Vandalia to form an Economic Development Committee. We have started the committee, but we realize more must be done to make our community better. Us just meeting is not going to cut it, so I have asked all the members to come up with some recommendations of goals that we are going to achieve – not try to achieve – during 2016. You can't just set goals, you have to do just do things sometimes.
That idea of teamwork has to go a little further too – it has to go to all the members of the Vandalia Chamber of Commerce. We ask for your participation in our events, we ask for your commitment as a member and to help with different committees. For many of you that have gotten your renewals in for this year, we say Thank You for being part of the fight once again. For those of you that haven't, we ask you to please take a few moments to do so. If you are on the fence about renewing as a member, give me a call. Let's talk about why you have doubts. I want to know what those issues are with the Chamber. You have to know about an issue before you can fix it. John F. Kennedy said a mistake is not a mistake until you refuse to correct it. So, if there are issues or mistakes, let us know about them so we can get better.
So, now that we've talked about becoming a member again in 2016 – and here's hoping you all come back on board – let's talk a little bit about being an active member. Look, we certainly realize that many of you are very busy and can't participate as much as you would like. But, remember, as a Chamber member your business has other employees that could certainly get involved. So, think about bringing some new faces to meetings and events and get these new folks involved – we constantly need not only new members, but new faces among our long time members of the Chamber of Commerce. Fresh blood and new ideas will only help the Chamber get stronger. Also, in bringing a couple of extra fellow employees with you it just helps add on to the number of folks we have at events and makes that event that much stronger.
And, another step in the chain of teamwork is recruitment. Seth Whitehead has done an outstanding job as Chamber Director – and he has done an outstanding job of bringing on new members. But, one person can't follow up every possible lead. If you have some referrals to get to Seth or to myself, by all means let us know. But, I would ask Chamber members to take it upon yourself. You can print off the membership application right off the Chamber website at www.vandaliachamber.org. The bottom line is the more members we have, the strong our voice can be – not just in 2016 but for many, many years to come.
An Organization Rich In History
The Vandalia Chamber of Commerce was organized on April 3, 1914. The first elected officers were Charles Evans, president; Herbert Sonneman, vice president; and N.C. Gochenour, secretary-treasurer.
Charter members included the 13 people present at the first meeting: Mayor C.A. Janett, Judge George T. Turner, J.V. Waddell, Joseph C. Burtschi, Ira D. Lakin, P.T. Denny, J.S. Ritter, Nathan Levin, H.H. Sonnemann, J.S. Carp, George A. Kurtz, N.C. Gochenour and C.A. Evans.
Since its founding, the Vandalia Chamber of Commerce has been led by more than 75 different individuals – with some serving more than one year. R.O. Hasler was president for seven one-year terms in the late 1950s and early 1960s!
The first woman president was Marie Bristow, serving in 1978. Other women presidents include Jean Stombaugh, Bunny Brosman, Sandra Michel, Michelle Sarver, Kendra Craig, Pam Apke and 2009 president Joanna Helm.
In the early years, the chamber’s role included classic functions such as the recruitment of business and industry to Vandalia, but it also was heavily involved in the town’s civic and social functions. The method for electing officers was changed to the succession system in 1965.