Building Strong Communities

Signature Events

June 28, 2024
Staff Reports

One evening last year, as I drove downtown, I vividly recall the bustling streets filled with activity. The city was alive, and as I passed by local businesses, I felt an immense sense of pride in the community we’ve built together. Seeing people gathered in cafés and on sidewalks, engaged in lively conversation, I reflected on the importance of creating supportive and inspiring work environments. These environments are vital for fostering camaraderie, overcoming challenges, and celebrating triumphs within our community.

Over the years, I’ve come to understand the challenges of managing people, but fortunately I’m blessed with an incredible team here at the Chamber. And our customers – or “members,” as we call them, are the best I’ve ever worked with.

However, workforce challenges are a significant concern for many. It’s the number one issue I work on daily, and it has defined workplaces all over America and beyond. When I ask our members what keeps them up at night, their concerns always remind me of that evening drive downtown.

The workforce challenges facing America, and our communities, aren’t new or unexpected. American Demographics magazine warned us about aging Baby Boomers decades ago and the pressure it would put on employers.

But what we were warned about then and what we face today as a nation is somewhat different. Today’s worker wants more than a paycheck.

Your Chamber and our affiliates are focused on building a community that is good for business and compels people to invest their lives and businesses here. From our focus on livability and quality of place to strategies that help tell our unique and powerful story, we’re all-in. It’s up to all of us to work together to enhance the appeal of our great city. Abilene, Texas, is an amazing place full of amazing people, but what does the rest of the world think about when they hear our name?

That’s why in 2022 we launched – the Best Workplace Awards – to provide a platform for your business to reveal how special your workplace culture, career tracks, or unique perks are. Through our collective effort, we can shine a light on our career opportunities, the work-life balance, and the quality of life all right here. 

We’re grateful that Hendrick Health has agreed to another year of helping us recognize the best workplaces in our area. Afterall, Hendrick – like so many others around us - get it. Hendrick has been recognized at all levels as a top workplace. We knew they set the standard for outstanding workplaces. We’re thrilled to have them alongside us as we recognize others for the same reason.

Our community is full of great employers who have created great workplaces. The Best Workplace Awards will help each of them to tell their story.  

We believe that by helping employers to tell their stories, potential workers will better understand the opportunities that exist in their businesses. That’s the short of it – we have absolutely first-rate workplaces in our great city and the community and everyone else needs to know it.

We hope you join us for the 3rd annual Big Country Best Workplaces Awards on Aug. 27 at The Grace Museum. The evening will begin with a cocktail hour at 5:00 pm, and the program will start at 5:45 pm.

As I mentioned earlier, today’s worker seeks more than a paycheck. They want a workplace experience. A compelling reason to invest themselves in an effort. They want to contribute, but they need to believe in what they’re contributing to.

And while the Best Workplace Awards help us to broadcast the reasons why someone might want to work for you, our efforts don’t stop there. Not even close. From strategic partnerships with our education partners; helping our subject matter experts address childcare challenges; our work to support the largest young professionals network in West Texas (I’d argue anywhere in Texas); working closely with those positioned to help tell the Abilene story nationwide, we will never stop. Regardless of vocation.

I hope you’ll join us on Aug. 27 as we celebrate.