The Washington Area Chamber of Commerce has two Board of Directors positions to fill for 2020.
The following five nominees were selected from a highly qualified field of candidates: Josh Brinker, Eric Eoloff, Deb Giffin, Rick Hodges, Luke Meyer.
Josh Brinker (Bank of Franklin County)
Josh is a lifelong resident of Washington. He graduated from St. Francis Borgia Regional High School, went on to attend East Central College, and graduated in 2003 from Central Missouri State University with a B.A. in Finance. His career in finance began in banking, and from there, Josh went on to work as an auditor for the Missouri Real Estate Commission where he discovered his passion for real estate. He shifted into a career as a full-time Realtor before getting back into banking where he was able to utilize his in-depth knowledge of real estate appraisals to assist in managing a real estate portfolio. Josh saw an opportunity to leverage his real estate experience and sales skills as a mortgage lender, and proudly joined Bank of Franklin County in 2016.
Outside of banking, Josh is active in the Washington community. He is a member of the St. Francis Borgia Parish, Rotary Club of Washington, and Hummingbird Club. He serves on the boards of Exceptional Equestrians and Advocates for Community Choice, volunteers for many community events such as church breakfasts and the Washington Town and Country Fair, and is also a former Councilman for the City of Washington.
Eric Eoloff (Mercy)
Eric Eoloff is president of Mercy Hospital Washington. Since his arrival in September 2016, he has helped Mercy grow even stronger as a pioneering community partner. Right out of the box, Eric worked with Dr. Lori VanLeer, superintendent of the Washington School District, to establish the Health Science Innovation Academy at Mercy. The academy allows health occupation students at Four Rivers Career Center to be immersed in the climate, culture and atmosphere at Mercy on a regular basis, as they attend classes onsite and interact with health care workers. The effort hopes to seed more interest from area students to become future health care workers in the area.
Eric has also worked to expand the hospital’s cardiovascular services and will soon push for construction of key service areas to keep up with local health care demand. Under his guidance, Mercy Hospital Washington has also been nationally recognized as a top performing hospital by several outside agencies that objectively monitor patient safety, as well as health care cost and service indicators.
In his role, Eric leads almost 1,200 co-workers at the hospital. He is proud for Mercy to be recognized as the largest employer in Franklin county, which includes another 800 employees in the clinic settings. Eric also takes great pride in serving on the board of directors for the Franklin County Area United Way and helping lead Mercy to achieve greater amounts of community giving of both time and money. He is also a board member of ALIVE (Alternatives to Living In Violent Environments), a not-for-profit organization that helps survivors of domestic violence in Franklin County and St. Louis County.
Before arriving in Washington, Eric was president of Mercy Labs. He was also chief operating officer and vice president of operations of Mercy Hospital St. Louis between 2006 and 2012. Eric received his master’s degree in health care administration from the University of Minnesota and a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Oregon. Eric and his wife, Gina, have a home in Washington, and often take part in community-building activities ranging from support for the Farmer’s Market to support for area merchants.
Deb Giffin (Plush Home & Fashion, Swallow's Nest Express)
Deb Giffin is a lifelong resident of Missouri. She chose Washington as her home community 15 years ago where she raised her two children and established herself as a successful business owner in the downtown corridor. Ms. Giffin has enjoyed 30 years of experience in real estate development to include multi-family, single-family and commercial development across Missouri, Kansas and Oklahoma. As part of the design-build process she developed an interest in interior design which led to the 2015 establishment of Plush Home & Fashion located at 127 Elm Street. Plush recently celebrated its 4th year in business as a popular downtown boutique offering home décor, furniture and various eclectic items discovered in her mid-west travels. Plush has enjoyed great success over the years as a retail boutique which set the stage for its sister company Event Inspirations offering a décor rental line also located at 127 Elm Street. Ms. Giffin’s most recent contribution to downtown Washington is the Swallow’s Nest Express, a vintage 28-passenger trolley made available for scheduled events in Washington and surrounding areas.
Ms. Giffin recently purchased the Nieberg Vitt building at 310 Elm and is remodeling it for the Grand Re-Opening of her family of companies scheduled for the winter 2019. This building will be the permanent home of Plush Home & Fashion, Event Inspirations and Swallows Nest Express. After closing on 310 Elm, Ms. Giffin wasted no time meeting with city officials and Downtown Washington, Inc. representatives offering to serve on various Washington growth and revitalization committees. Ms. Giffin currently serves on a state board (Missouri Workforce Housing Association) and enjoys memberships in over 25 chamber of commerce organizations across the tri-state area.
Rick Hodges (Hodges Badge)
Rick Hodges is the 4th generation owner/manager of Hodges Badge Company and lives in Washington. Rick holds degrees from the University of Vermont and Rivier College, as well as Harvard Business School. After graduating college, Rick worked in high tech for five years at Digital Equipment Corporation in New Hampshire. He joined Hodges in 1989 and rose through the ranks, becoming president in 2000. During his tenure Hodges has more than doubled it sales, and recently completed moving its manufacturing operation to Washington. The company employs more than 100 people at its 87,000 sf plant in the Heidmann industrial park.
Rick and his wife Jennifer have two grown children who live on the west coast. Rick is active in the community, having joined the Washington Fire Department and the WCIC board.
Luke Meyer (Citizens Bank)
Luke Meyer is a Vice President with Citizens Bank. He has worked for the bank for eight years and currently serves as a commercial loan officer at the Washington location. Luke attended St. Francis Borgia Regional High School and St. Louis University. He and his wife, Jill, live in Washington with their three children.
Luke is active in the community, currently serving on the Four Rivers Family YMCA board and the Missouri Bankers Association Young Bankers board, and coaching youth sports. He previously served on the Franklin County Area United Way board.
The Chamber of Commerce has advertising opportunities available in a new year-in-review publication – “Washington Insight.” This full-color publication will include feature interviews with local business leaders, and overviews of the business, healthcare, and education opportunities in the Washington area. The annual magazine will be distributed to businesses in the St. Louis Region, as well as to all Chamber members.
The Chamber is partnering with the CAPS (Center for Advanced Professional Studies) program at Four Rivers Career Center to sell the ad space in this publication. You may be contacted by a student within the CAPS program with more information during the month of November.
We wanted to give our members notice of this new publication and let you know of the partnership with CAPS to alleviate any confusion when the students contact you. If you would like more information on ad space, please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also speak with Jennifer (email@example.com) or Amanda (firstname.lastname@example.org) if you have additional questions. Thank you!
Fifteen individuals have been selected to the 2019 class of Outstanding Young Professionals, sponsored by The Missourian and the Washington Area Chamber of Commerce. The selection committee continues to receive many excellent nominations, making the job of selection tougher each year! Thank you to everyone who took the time to submit a nomination, and an extra "kudos" to the young professionals in the area that continue to embrace Washington's "service leadership" model of volunteerism!
During July, we will be doing "Quotes for Good". For every quote we provide, we will donate $10 (per business or household) to Franklin County Back to School Fair. This program provides school supplies and shoe vouchers to under resourced families in Franklin County. Please call us, visit our website or send a message today for your quote that can help make a difference!
When getting a quote, BE SURE and mention it is for Quotes for Good!
Don't need a quote? That is ok too, you can drop off school supplies in our office until Monday July 22nd and they will be delivered in time for the Back to School Fair that is being held on July 26th & 27th.
Please share this promotion, the more it is shared, the more we can help those in our own neighborhood!
We're wishing Neighborhood Reads a very Happy 2nd Anniversary! Stop by June 14-15 to celebrate!
If you haven't visited this charming addition to our local shop-scape, you need to make a point of stopping by! It's a book-lover's dream, and if you don't consider reading a hobby before you go in, you'll almost certainly leave with a changed perspective! The shop is open 7 days a week - plus, you can shop online and pick up your books at the store, or have them shipped!
There are so many things to love about Neighborhood Reads, but here is a not-nearly-comprehensive-enough list of some of my favorites:
401 Lafayette Street
Monday through Friday
We want to make sure our members are getting the most out of their membership, and feel comfortable giving suggestions for improvements. Our staff is implementing a plan to assign each member to a staffer who will try to reach out a few times a year with a personal contact. Of course, we always welcome you to visit our office, and we look forward to visiting at your place as well. With over 500 members, we want to do a better job of making sure no ne is getting lost in the shuffle!
Another way we are hoping to give more attention to our members is by recognizing membership milestones at some of our events! Beginning in 2020, we will implement the following schedule:
Business Breakfast Meeting (January)
New Members from Previous Year
25, 30, and 40-Year Anniversaries
Chairman's Circle (Members 50 years or more!)
Summer Mixer (June)
10 and 20-Year Anniversaries
One other new perk that we have started is a drawing at each event for two tickets to the following event. Each member business that has a representative at the event is entered into a drawing (one entry per member - you don't get extras for sending lots of people, although we always love that!). We'll choose a winner and announce it before the event is over. It's just another way we want to show our appreciation for the members that continue to support our Chamber and community. **Congrats to Bank of Washington, who won the drawing at the 2019 Summer Mixer - they get two free tickets to the Member Luncheon (Monday, October 7)!
As always, you also have opportunities to promote your business by updating your online member listing and submitting content for the blog (we always need more Member Features and Ask The Expert Columns), or sponsoring events. Plus, keep an eye out for advertising options in some upcoming publications as well!
It was great to see our members come together and enjoy a beautiful night at the fairgrounds. We celebrated our great community, networked, enjoyed a fantastic meal, and watched an amazing hockey game. Let's Go Blues, and Thank You Washington!
- Safety Town is also available for those children that are ages 3-5.
- Car seat safety inspections are also provided by staff from Mercy Hospital - Washingon.
- Missouri Child Identification and Protection Program (MOCHIP) is also on hand to give Missouri families protection against missing and abducted children.
This event is organized by the Washington Optimist Club and Washington Police Department, with support from local sponsors.
Previously, the Chamber website, www.washmochamber.org, has included community information, as well as business/industry information and resources. In an effort to make information easier to find, the community resource pages have been moved to a new domain, www.washmo.org. The washmo.org domain was previously utilized as a landing page directing visitors to relevant local sites. Those redirects will still be available in the footer of every page of the re-vamped community site.
The community site is a great resource for those currently living in, or looking to relocate to, the Washington area, featuring things to do, an overview of area demographics, and more. Soon, it will also include a printable Community Profile/Relocation Guide.
A great feature of the washmo.org site is the community blog. The blog will feature some information directly from the Chamber, City of Washington, and Downtown Washington, Inc., but will mostly include articles from Washingtonians. Topics range from favorite activities, events, real estate, and more!
People interested in submitting content for the blog can sign up HERE or contact Amanda at the Chamber Office – 636-239-2715 x106.
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