I hope that you and your businesses are doing well.
Recently, about 150 members of the Valley Industrial Association gathered at the Third Annual Spark Awards. On the surface, we met as a group of business peers to share a meal and to celebrate some outstanding business accomplishments. But on a deeper level we came together as a community of partners, neighbors, and, ultimately, friends who sometimes need to comfort and support each other. Recent events in our community remind us how fragile life can be. There is some solace in knowing that difficult times can have the ability to bring a community closer together. I urge all of us to cherish and strengthen the partnerships and friendships that we have within the VIA. The quality of our businesses and our community will be better for it.
One of the ways that we can strengthen our community is by strengthening our organizations. The Spark Awards was started three years ago as a night to recognize and celebrate outstanding achievements by VIA members. Under Kathy’s leadership, the Benchmarking for Excellence model rolled out this year is more aligned with the three value pillars of the VIA: to provide Resources, Education, and Collaboration opportunities to strengthen your business. This new model gives VIA member companies many tools to measure current areas of strengths and weaknesses. It also provides tools to track progress over a longer time horizon. Further, how members collectively perform in their assessments gives us insight in order to provide valuable programming topics as well as education and collaboration forums throughout the year.
Another way that we strengthen our community is by providing opportunities to those who need a helping hand. Thanks to the generous donations of many members, we are thrilled to announce that we have reached our $25,000 goal needed to fund the Valley Industrial Association Manufacturing and Technology Endowed Scholarship at Waubonsee Community College. This is a great accomplishment and will allow the VIA’s positive influence on our community to live on for generations to come.
I hope to see you at an upcoming event.