“The Chamber has done a lot for the McPherson community over the 95 years, with foundation work by those who have long since passed on."

The McPherson Chamber of Commerce has been around for 95 years now, but the organization shows no sign of slowing down. The duties of the Chamber have changed and evolved over the years, but they still throw a heck of a party.

“I think it went very well. We had great attendance, I think it was a perfect day,” Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Jennifer Burch said.

The Chamber celebrated at the McPherson Chamber of Commerce Annual Meeting & Luncheon on Tuesday afternoon at the Best Western Holiday Manor Convention Center.

“The Chamber has done a lot for the McPherson community over the 95 years, with foundation work by those who have long since passed on, and many leaders since who have been an intricate part of the Chambers accomplishments, today the Chamber continues to evolve and update goals and initiatives based the needs of the businesses, investors and the community. Our primary focus is to help investors succeed by providing programs to assist in promoting their business or organizations,” Burch said. “We also work for the success of the entire community to assure it is a community that is attractive to live, work and do business.”

Burch did a little research and found out that in the past, the Chamber had purchased parcels of land for future business development, sponsored a basketball team and contained approximately 34 different committees.

“Board meeting used to be in the evening and were three hours long,” Burch said.

Since 1921, the McPherson Chamber of Commerce has done what it can to promote the economic growth of McPherson. Its mission statement says what the Chamber is all about: “Visionary leadership promoting a vibrant business community and enhanced quality of life.”

“A Chamber of Commerce is a universally recognized organization. You can find one in most communities – the role it plays is just as unique as the community where it is located. We are considered the ‘front door’ to a community and typically the first stop anyone would make if seeking information about a community,” Burch said. “If there were no Chamber, where would you go to find information about living, working and having fun in a community? What businesses are there in the community? What if you wanted to start a business – what resources are there? Our website is very informative and is mobile friendly – it includes a business directory of our member investors, as well as other businesses in the community. Including all businesses, give a truer picture of the McPherson community, while highlighting our investors who support our work.”

The organization’s job isn’t an easy one, as it is funded by voluntary member investments on a fee schedule as well as two fundraising events throughout the year: the Tartan Turkey Golf Tournament and the Chamber Challenge. This is another reason for the annual celebration — to acknowledge those behind the success of the organization.

“We are here today to recognize and thank the individuals and businesses for their investments,” Burch said.

It is through these investments that the Chamber is able to provide members with invaluable resources, marketing opportunities, programs for business development, address community concerns, raise scholarship funds and provide opportunities for business connections.

During the luncheon, the Chamber honored Kyle Hawk of Swindoll, Janzen, Hawk & Loyd, LLC with President’s Award. Each year the past presidents of the Chamber meet and select an individual who has shown dedication and selfless service in the betterment of the community, which is determined to have had a long-term impact.

Hawk received an accounting degree from Fort Hays State University in 1982, moved to McPherson and began work at Haury, Emery, Pearman and Stuart. He became partner in 1990 of what is now Swindoll, Janzen, Hawk & Loyd.

He has served on the Chamber board and as treasurer, chairman of the Chamber Think Tank, the Lakeside Plaza Board, McPherson County Community Foundation, past president of Kansas Society of CPAs and YMCA Board. He is a current member of the McPherson Industrial Development Company, of which he is treasurer and past president; McPherson Optimists Club, of which he is treasurer; First United Methodist Church; American Institute of CPAs; and Central Kansas Chapter of CPA, of which he is a past president.

He was honored in 2012 with the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Kansas Society of CPAs and became a certified mergers and acquisition advisor in 2011.

Hawk has a family with wife Tami, sons Landen and Braden, daughter-in-law Alex and grandson Breckett.

“Kyle is a true leader and leads by example,” Burch said.

Behind all the events and good deeds of the Chamber lies its Board of Directors. They too were recognized for contributions at the meeting.

“They play a very important role in the Chamber organization,” Burch said. “We appreciate their commitment to serve.”

For more information on the McPherson Chamber of Commerce visit www.mcphersonchamber.org.

“The Chamber is not a department of the city, county, state or federal government. We do not receive tax dollars to operate. We are soley funded by our investors and our only fund raising event the Tartan Turkey Golf Tournament. The Chamber brings people together to work side by side to address concerns and needs of their business and community. The Chamber promotes collaboration and utilizing partnership to do what no single person or business can do on their own. There is so much to the Chamber than what you may see on the surface,” Burch said. “I like to use the example of an iceberg – everyone knows the part of the iceberg that sticks up out of the water is only a very, very small part of the overall iceberg. What most people see of the Chamber on the surface is the ribbon cuttings, ChamberChecks, maps, phone books and information center. The largest part of the iceberg is what your don’t see under the water – like the Chamber there is a lot more to the organization that what you may seen - there is planning that takes place for educational programs, research, scheduling of member events, community calendar, workforce development, business recruitment, business relocation, business expansions, phone and email inquiries, Chamber event planning and organizing, problem solving, leadership and professional development, E-Loans and anything else that walks in the door, calls us on the phone or email us – we generally handle it or know who can.”