Polk City Chamber of Commerce Blog

Jan 2017 Luncheon

The January 2017 Chamber of Commerce Luncheon was catered by Reising Sun and hosted by the folks at Boulders Inn. Chamber President Desiree Pliler opened the meeting with a welcome to a new year with the Polk City Chamber, a thank you to the Chamber members for a great 2016 and a call for volunteers to support the events and activities for 2017. She also touched on the combining of the Annual Business & Citizen of the Year Banquet and the Polk City Development's Spring Fling into one event. She promised more info to come and added the theme for the new event would be "Adult Prom." Desiree then introduced the new part time assistant, Sheila Mahan. Sheila reiterated she is here to serve the membership of the chamber and asked for ideas on how she and the chamber might best help the local businesses. Sheila also mentioned she would like to get an up to date contact list for each member and asked for current phone numbers and email addresses. It was announced there is an opportunity for the chamber members to have a business spotlight of their business on the new chamber page in the North Polk Living magazine. They will be looking for 200-250 words about the member and their business. The chamber president then introduced Mayor Jason Morse who came to give an overall update of the past year as it relates to city growth and initiatives. The mayor spoke about a number of topics to include: Overall Growth Population Commercial & Residential Construction City Revenue City Square Renovation Police Department DART He also spoke on a number of other topics and mentioned that we could look forward to seeing a lot of what he spoke about on the city website soon. The chamber president then thanked everyone for attending and closed out the luncheon.

Dec 2016 Luncheon

The December 2016 Chamber of Commerce Luncheon was catered by Subway and hosted by the folks at Boulders Inn. Chamber President Kyle Matzen opened the meeting with the usual introductions and thanked the Chamber members for a great year. He then introduced the 2017 Chamber President, Desiree Pliler of Squared Away Financial. Desiree spoke about her excitement to serve the community for the next twelve months as the Polk City Chamber of Commerce President and after mentioning the next Chamber luncheon in January, she touched on the unification of the Chamber and the Polk City Development Corporation (PCDC). The Chamber board, PCDC board and Polk City Mayor met and after forming a committee, felt it was time to unify the PCDC and Chamber under one management system. Desiree introduced John Calhoun, Director of the PCDC and he spoke in detail about the unification of the two organizations. The PCDC board formed a Transition Committee consisting of the Mayor and PCDC Executive Committee. This committee met to review past progress of the organization and hope for the future. The committee felt that it was time to unify PCDC and the Chamber under one management system that would allow Polk City to take the next step in being a significant member of the Des Moines Metro area. The Transition Committee met with the Chamber of Commerce to discuss a new structure that would facilitate a unification of the two organizations. After meeting and reviewing the options, it was decided to recommend that PCDC and the Chamber unify under one management system. The proposal was that PCDC & the Chamber will enter into a contract with Provident Consulting to manage both organizations for the period of January 1, 2017 and December 31, 2017. Both organizations will continue to have separate board meetings and in addition, an executive committee consisting of the officers of both organizations will meet monthly to further review how the organizations can eliminate duplications and enhance efficiencies. Provident Consulting will continue to have John Calhoun as the Director of both organizations and will also hire a part time assistant (25 to 30 hours per week) and will create an office on the square. Provident Consulting’s goal during that year period will be to prepare PCDC to be in a position to employ a new Director after the completion of the year. The PCDC Board unanimously approved this recommendation from the Transition Committee at the August 23rd board meeting. The Chamber unanimously approved the recommendation on their September 1st board meeting. John then introduced the new part time assistant, Sheila Mahan, five year resident of Polk City and Wells Fargo retiree. Mayor Jason Morse took some time for his comments about the unification and spoke briefly about the greatly improved relationship between the Chamber and the City government. He also spoke about the growth our city has experienced this past year and promised to share more at the January Chamber Luncheon. The Mayor also spoke about the City pulling out of the DART system. After everyone thanked and applauded Kyle Matzen for serving this past year as Chamber President, he introduced the rest of the new Chamber Board for 2017: Chris Tigges of Polk City Chiropractic Brandon Converse of Luana Savings Bank Ashlee Walton of North Polk Living Magazine

Nov 2016 Luncheon

The November 2016 Chamber of Commerce Luncheon was catered by Phyllis and Bob Wiseman and hosted by the folks at Boulders Inn. Chamber President Kyle Matzen opened the meeting with the usual introductions and a chamber board update and a review of the event schedule. Kyle noted the first annual Monster Dash was a success and had a great turnout despite the weather. The Trunk-or-Treat held on the square for Halloween had over 400 children participate with 24 businesses involved. Kyle also briefly reviewed the December 6th Square Lighting schedule. This month we had two speakers, the first being Robert Brownell from the Polk County Board of Supervisors. Robert shared with the chamber members about the reality of food insecurity in the Polk County area. Robert explained that hunger happens 365 days of the year, and it happens for 55,000 individuals right here in Polk County. The solution is to raise funds and support the efforts of local food pantries. This effort is being organized and managed by the Partnership for a Hunger-Free Polk County. Robert reviewed the need for our community support of this program and the many different ways our chamber can get involved to relieve hunger here in Polk County. If you or your organization would like to be involved, you can find out more and contact them by visiting their website HungerFreePolkCounty.org. Our second speaker was Tammy Verbrugge, Owner of HR Approach. Tammy shared with us about the importance of human resource policies and practices for our local businesses regardless of size. She covered a number of topics to include: Policies, Procedures & Practices Employee Relations Retention Strategies Compensation & Benefits Tammy also explained the importance of having an employee handbook and how it prevents a lot of problems for businesses. If your business doesn't have a full time HR staff, Tammy would be a great resource to contact with your questions. She can be reached at (515) 208-0190. Kyle closed out the November meeting by introducing the 2017 chamber president, Desiree Pliler.

Oct 2016 Luncheon

The October 2016 Chamber of Commerce Luncheon was catered by the Reising Sun and hosted at the Polk City Fire Department as part of the Fire Safety Awareness Month. Chamber President Kyle Matzen opened the meeting with a quick round of introductions and an update from the chamber board and a review of the event schedule. John Calhoun was on hand to give an update on what is going on in the city and in particular the new playground project on the square wrapping up. Megan Griffith reviewed the details for the upcoming 5K Monster Dash. After the updates, Kyle reminded us of the upcoming Trunk or Treat event on the square on October 30th then introduced our speaker. This month our speaker was Dan Gubbins, Polk City Fire Chief. Dan shared with us about the current operations and staffing of the Polk City Fire Department. After reviewing the number and types of staff, hours of operation, and proposed manning levels, Dan talked about the types of service provided by the department. The services are but not limited to: Fire Protection Advanced Life Support Ice & Water Rescue Basic HAZMAT Response Fire Safety Inspections And yes, even rescuing cats out of trees. The department's service area is approximately 70 square miles in Northwest Polk County. Currently they are responding to 700-800 calls a year with 80% of those calls being emergency medical related. President Matzen then closed the meeting.

Aug 2016 Luncheon

The August 2016 Chamber of Commerce Luncheon was catered by Subway and hosted by the folks at Boulders Inn. Chamber President Kyle Matzen opened the meeting with a quick round of introductions and an update from the chamber board and a review of the event schedule. He also mentioned the need for others to volunteer as Chamber Ambasadors. After reviewing the details for the Annual Teacher Breakfast, Kyle introduced our speaker. This month our speaker was Danyal Erickson with Stearns Home Loans. Danyal shared with us about the different home mortgage options and some of the misconceptions people have when it comes to home loans. The big news she had was that you don't really need 20% down as most people think. She also spoke about improving your credit score and credit repair. Danyal mentioned she ofers free consultation when it comes to all of these topics. President Matzen then closed the meeting.

July 2016 Luncheon

The July 2016 Chamber of Commerce Luncheon was catered by Papa's Pizzeria and hosted by the folks at Boulders Inn. Chamber President Kyle Matzen opened the meeting with a quick round of introductions and a reminder that if anyone is interested in serving on the Chamber Board next year to contact him. After an update on the events schedule and Polk City Four Seasons Festival, Kyle introduced our speaker. This month our speaker was Sergeant First Class Rob Haspels with the American Legion Post 232 here in Polk City. Rob shared with us about the mission of the American Legion and how that works out here in the Polk City area. After a quick rundown on all the events and activities the Legion is involved in , Rob talked about the upcoming Lobster Fest which is their largest annual fund raiser. Additional info about the Post 232 and their events and activities can be found at their website Post232.org. President Matzen then closed the meeting by noting there are still plenty of sponsorships available for the golf outing later this month.

June 2016 Luncheon

The June 2016 Chamber of Commerce Luncheon was catered by Phyllis and Bob Wiseman and hosted by the folks at Boulders Inn. Chamber President Kyle Matzen opened the meeting with a quick update and mentioned there was a great turn out for the first "Sounds on the Square" of the season. After a quick round of introductions, Kyle introduced our first of three speakers. This month our first speaker was Barb Pothast with the Big Creek Volunteer Center. Barb shared with us about the need to connect volunteers with events and other community needs that are needed for this year. The Big Creek Volunteer Center has a website to do just that. The second speaker was Cynthia Letsch with the Letsch Law Firm in Grimes. After introducing her business and the type of lawyer she is (a "good" one), Cynthia shared with the chamber some of hte details about the Fair Labor Standards Act and the impact it has on small business. Lastly, Justin and Jenny Sands from Sands Chiropractic talked about how health insurance relates to chiropractic care and to challenge our thinking when it comes to good health and the human body. The meeting was closed out by President Matzen with a reminder to keep your business info updated with the chamber.