From the desk of 2020/2021 Chairman of the Board: Bob Davee

“This is certainly a strange time to be writing to the Chamber membership as your new Chairman of the Board. 

We are all aware, that the Chamber, our membership, our local economy and our larger community have been living through a prolonged lockdown to arrest the spread of a virus none had heard of until early this year.  While it now appears that the Coronavirus may be in retreat and our local, state and national economy may be in various stages of re-opening, the effects of both remain.

For the past several weeks, I have had a unique view of those effects.  As part of the Chamber’s planning for the upcoming year, I have participated in meetings over the past several weeks with the Chamber staff and the chairs and co-chairs of our divisions and liaisons of our industry partners. The purpose of those meetings was to refine the program of work for our industry groups and liaisons and generate a corresponding and relevant annual plan for the Chamber and it’s operation. From aerospace to hospitality, from tourism to boats, that has provided a unique chance to hear how a prolonged shutdown has affected our diverse membership. As always, there are a few winners and many have learned lessons that will have value going forward, but many or our businesses have been hurt, some substantially.               

At heart, it is the Chamber’s mission to support all of our membership, as well as our local business economy and community.  We are, in fact, “Champions for Business Success and Quality of Life in Our Community” and we have a unique opportunity to demonstrate that in the coming months – to commit to collectively working together to insure we all recover from the economic effects of a prolonged business shutdown. It is my confident hope that the Clear Lake Area Chamber and it’s membership with our collective knowledge, experience and enthusiasm can lead the way.  We have done so before and can do so again.”

Thank you, Bob. We are excited to have you serve as Chairman of the Board for the 2020/2021 year.

A Final Thought from Our 2019/2020 Chairman of the Board: Shawn Bailey

“Every cloud has a silver lining” has been my mantra in 2020. It has helped me to refrain from going down the proverbial rabbit hole and has kept me focused on the positive things occurring around me. With that said, I want to close out my chairmanship with the chamber by highlighting some of the “silver linings” I have observed this past year:    

Adaptation / Evolution: While we have all been forced to adapt to the current environment, I would rather say we that we have evolved to being better organizations.  We have all made modifications, improved processes, enhanced services, learned new technology, etc. that have made us better than what we were. The chamber itself had it first virtual board meeting, membership luncheon, and new teachers’ luncheon this past year.  

Appreciation: In normal times, it is easy to take for granted our first responders. However, in times like these, you are easily reminded who the true heroes in our community are, our health care workers, law enforcement officers, and public servants. As a community, let us continue to support and show appreciation for those who take care of us, time and time again.    I will also note here that I also believe some parents in our community now have a greater appreciation for teachers and school administration after having their kids at home for most of 2020. 

Network: More than anything, this past year brought us all closer to our “core” network. I hope you were able to enjoy more time with your family during the “lockdown” periods. I, and the chamber, also used this time to expand my network via various social media platforms. Finally, I took inventory of my “core” business network as well and realized how thankful I am for all the connections the chamber has provided me.  

In closing, I will simply repeat: “Every cloud has a silver lining.”  

Thank you, Shawn for your service and leadership this past year with the Clear Lake Area Chamber of Commerce.

Welcome New September Members!

The Clear Lake Area Chamber of Commerce is excited to welcome our newest members from this past September! We are proud to have you be a part of this community and together we can continue to be, ‘Champions for Business Success and Quality of Life in Our Community.’

Take a moment to connect with our new members below and support those that support our community.

Absolute Volleyball Academy (AVA)
Bay Area Elite Properties
Bay Area Elite Properties – Krystyna Fennelly
Bravo Party Shop
Brittain Enterprises
Case Files with Kat & Ashley
Centex Studies/C-1 Headlands LLC
Community Health Network
Direct Travel Houston
Emily T. Krone & Company, PLLC
exp Realty – Scott Crowhurst, REALTOR®
Global Life Family Heritage – Lisa Burgett
Grease Monkey
Grounds Control USA
Hartnett and Company
Metropolitan Transit Authority of Harris County
Muddy Lotus
Renewal By Andersen of Houston
State Farm – Matt Johnson
Urban Constructors, Inc.

These new members now have access to exclusive membership perks, business development seminars, advertising opportunities and more. Interested in joining the Chamber? Give us a call at 281.488.7676 or check out the application here.

Welcome New Members

We are happy to welcome 27 new members to the Clear Lake Area Chamber of Commerce. Take a moment to check them out below!

On September 10 at 5:00PM, the Clear Lake Area Chamber of Commerce wrapped up it’s 2020 Membership Campaign. We want to thank our team captains: Lauri Coppock, PrimeLending; Kat Clemons, Bay Area Turning Point; and Rita Garcia, Home Sweet Home Improvements for all of your hard work and determination to not only recruit some new members and encourage past members to renew their membership, but to also pump up your teams to participate.

Bravo Party Shop
Brittain Enterprises
Case Files with Kat & Ashley
Cloth & Cord
Community Health Network
Direct Travel Houston
Emily T. Krone & Company, PLLC
exp Realty – Scott Crowhurst, REALTOR®
Global Life Family Heritage – Lisa Burgett
Grease Monkey
Healthcare Consultants, Inc.
Houston Community ER at Clear lake
imassage.pro
Kemah’s Corner Coop
Littler Mendelson
LoveWell Creative
Monument Chemical
Muddy Lotus
Prognust Systems
Staples
State Farm – Cynthia Beecher
State Farm – Matt Johnson
State Farm – Melinda Gardner
State Farm – Stephanie Lee
Twenty20 Vision Center
Unbound Houston
Urban Constructors, Inc.

These new members now have access to exclusive membership perks, business development seminars, advertising opportunities and more. Interested in joining the Chamber? Give us a call at 281.488.7676 or check out the application here.

Networking 101

Networking is an art and we want to make sure you are getting the most out of your networking efforts. Hear from Scott Blair of CertaPro Painters of League City as he helps us to create value and genuinely connect with potential clients.

“Networking is the first step in building mutually beneficial, give and take, win-win relationships. People will do business with and refer business to other people they know, like and trust. Building these relationships is not just about what you know but is about who you know, who knows you and knows what you do. This is your Sphere of Influence, where your actions create reactions.

Develop a Personal Benefit Statement. This a short, succinct, descriptive of about seven words that other people can repeat about you. “I show people how to…” or “I help people to…”. This is not your longer elevator speech.

When you’re at a networking event remember everyone is there to meet someone new. Don’t spend too much time with “old friends”. Say hello and move on, you can catch up with those folks at another time. A lot of people are to shy to be power networkers, help them get over their fear, you speak first. Sit at a table where you DON’T know other people. Offer a card, get a card. Try exchanging VCards.

Ask open ended, feel good questions about them. But, most importantly ask, “How can I know if someone I’m talking to is a good prospect for you?”. Don’t forget to follow up. Building your Spere of Influence requires work, persistence and a plan. Good Luck.”

Interested practicing these new skills? Then join us and register for Thursday, September 10 @ 3:30PM for our Virtual Speed Networking and Friday, September 11 @ 9:30AM for our Coffee Break Catch-Up.

54th Annual New Teachers’ Luncheon

On Wednesday, August 5th, the Clear Lake Area Chamber of Commerce along with Clear Creek Independent School District hosted the 54th New Teachers’ Luncheon to 350 new teachers in the district. This year, however, there was a twist.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the luncheon was moved to a virtual setting. All of the teachers were brought together (with appropriate social distancing rules), served a prepared luncheon provided by Robinette & Caterers Company and were able to watch a live broadcast of the luncheon which was filmed at South Shore Harbour and Resort.

Teachers were able to hear Dr. Greg Smith, Superintendent, speak as well as continue on the tradition of winning a number of door prizes donated by the business community in the Bay Area.

The Clear Lake Area Chamber of Commerce is proud to continue this tradition of welcoming the new teachers into the Bay Area and into the CCISD. We want to thank our Platinum Sponsors: Gulf Coast Educators Federal Credit Union, Houston Methodist Clear Lake Hospital, Jacobs, and UTMB Health. We also want to thank all of our Gold, Silver, Bronze and Luncheon sponsors as well. A special thank you to Little Lens Media, for helping us with the live broadcast and to every person who took time out of their day to make teacher bags and lunch deliveries to every single school.

We will continue to support all of the hard work of the teachers who serve the great Bay Area. To see pictures from the event, visit the New Teachers’ Luncheon page here.

Clear Lake Area Chamber of Commerce Board of Director Nominations

The Clear Lake Area Chamber of Commerce is putting out a call for nominations for our 2020-2023 Board of Directors. Should you have an interest in serving on the Board of Directors (3-year term), click below to fill out the nomination form. Please respond no later than June 23, 2020. Click Here for the Nomination Form.

Getting Back to Work: A Guide for Employers and Employees

Frequently Asked Questions about Unemployment Insurance (UI) as the Economy Reopens

The following are responses to common questions about expanded support for unemployed workers included in the CARES Act as prepared by the Committee on Ways and Means. States are ultimately responsible for making eligibility decisions based on individual circumstances. Employers and employees in the Clear Lake Area should check the Texas Workforce Commission’s website for specific information.

EMPLOYER QUESTIONS:

One of my workers quit because he said he would prefer to receive the unemployment compensation benefits under the CARES Act. Is he eligible for unemployment? If not, what can I do?

No. Individuals who quit their jobs to access higher benefits, and are untruthful in their UI application about their reason for quitting, could be at-risk of committing fraud.

Eligibility for regular unemployment compensation varies by state but generally does not include those who voluntarily leave employment. Similarly, to receive pandemic unemployment assistance, an individual must satisfy one of the eligibility criteria in the CARES Act. These include the following scenarios:

  • if the individual receives a positive COVID-19 test or is experiencing symptoms and seeking a medical diagnoses;
  • if a member of the individual’s household has been diagnosed with COVID-19;
  • the individual is caring for a family member or a member of the individual’s household diagnosed with COVID-19;
  • the individual is the primary caregiver of a child who is unable to attend a school or child care closed because of COVID-19,
  • the individual is unable to reach the place of unemployment because of a quarantine due to the public health emergency,
  • an individual’s place of employment is closed due to COVID-19.

EMPLOYEE QUESTIONS:

I was recently offered my job back after having been laid off due to the pandemic, but I make more money now on unemployment. Can I turn the job down and stay on unemployment?

No. States permit a number of valid reasons for turning down a job. But making more money on UI is not one of them. If you don’t take the job and don’t have a valid reason, you are not eligible for UI and could be at risk of committing fraud. States are required to collect overpayments made to individuals that improperly receive benefits.

I was offered my job back but my children’s day care center is still closed down due to the pandemic. Am I still eligible for UI if I turn down the job due to lack of child care?

Yes. You are eligible. The CARES Act provides protections for workers impacted by COVID-19 and in most states, lack of child care due to the pandemic is a valid reason to turn down a job if you are the primary caregiver.

I don’t want to return to work because I am worried about exposure to illness. Wouldn’t it be safe for me to remain on UI?

Your health and safety are very important, and that’s exactly why you should return to work—after all, most Americans receive health care insurance through their employer. Employers are already working to reduce risks of exposure in the workplace, and you should work with your employer directly about any concerns you have. Unwillingness to do so is not a valid reason to stay on UI.

What happens if there is another outbreak this fall and my kids’ school closes and I can’t go to work? Do I have to quit my job and go on UI?

The Families First Coronavirus Response Act provides access to paid sick and family and medical leave for reasons related to COVID-19 for employees who work at companies with less than 500 employees through the end of the year.

Read the full article here

Four Key Things to Look for as We Return to Business as Usual – Tips from SERVPRO of Clear Lake

As Texas is getting back to business, it is no surprise that some consumers are nervous about rejoining their communities and reentering public spaces.  A recent nationally recognized survey reported that 89% of consumers were hesitant about visiting a brick-and-mortar business and 40% cited cleanliness as a top concern.

As the country slowly begins to reopen, local professional cleaning specialist Susan Meacham from SERVPRO of Clear Lake notes four things people should look for when they reenter their community to help ensure they are stepping into a healthy environment.

1. Look for “signs” of clean.

When you first walk into a building, you should immediately take inventory of whether the space has been cleaned recently. A clean space should be free of visible dirt and trash. Fingerprints on doors and windows and stains on countertops and tables may indicate a relaxed attitude towards cleaning. High-touch surfaces should be disinfected regularly. Oftentimes, you can smell a freshly cleaned facility. Standalone sanitation stations are a good sign that preventing the spread of germs is a priority. You may notice physical signage stating when the space was last cleaned, who is servicing the facility, or details of a regular cleaning regimen. Many businesses are also hanging signage to remind guests and employees of proper social distancing standards.

2. What adjustments have staff made?

Everyone has a responsibility to stop the spread of the coronavirus. The staff of retail businesses, restaurants, or community centers should be properly trained in CDC-approved cleaning methods. If employees are not using proper techniques or products, it might be because of a lack of proper training. Likewise, look for staff who are wearing gloves and masks and who are practicing safe distancing when interacting with customers. It is obvious when the business is not protecting its employees. People should come before profits.

3. What adjustments has the business made to the physical space?

Many businesses and facilities have made physical changes to their buildings to help reduce the risk of spreading illness. The business may adjust the traffic flow of patrons to prevent congested areas. Contactless points-of-sale are becoming more common, and many businesses are constructing barriers between employees and guests. Some are even adding markers on floors to indicate safe distances. One good way to help prevent the spread of infection is to reduce the number of touch points, such as propping doors open and opening windows to increase airflow. Some businesses are going a step further and reducing the number of guests allowed inside the space at one time.

4. Does it look like “business as usual?”

In the same way that the country changed following 9/11, what we once knew as “normal” may change forever. If a facility is still operating in the way it did before the coronavirus pandemic, there is a good chance the managers or staff are not taking the illness seriously and are not prioritizing the health of their employees and guests. Many have reduced their hours of operation or offered times when they are open only for at-risk individuals, such as senior citizens or those who are immune-compromised. Before stepping out of your door, check the company’s social media pages or their website for communications about their hours and the steps they are taking to protect patrons. These locations should be following federal, state, and local mandates with regard to safety.

SERVPRO of Clear Lake, Thank you so much for these helpful tips. 

Are You Ready? 5 Steps to Prepare Re-open

Governor Abbott has announced plans for Texans to get back to business. Tomorrow, restaurants, retailers, malls and movie theaters will all start the process of reopening with a limited capacity.

What is your business plan for reopening?  Here are 5 simple steps to help you create your plans and be ready to once again open for business.

#1:  Build a COVID-19 Plan

Have you reviewed re-opening guidelines?  Have you taken time to write your COVID-19 plan of action?  This plan should include your re-opening checklist, new protocols and safety procedures, marketing and communications, and social distancing.  Most importantly, what is your internal and external communications plan to staff and customers? 

#2:  Respect Social Distancing

We have all seen it, stickers on the floor, signs that say no more than 10 people at a time, and even plastic shields in front of counters.  You need to consider similar procedures.  Start gathering supplies and signage to accommodate your COVID-19 plan.

#3:  Create a Cleaning Schedule

Customers and staff will notice if your store or office is clean and organized and decide if it is safe to enter.  Your new cleaning plan will have a new schedule – add it to your daily calendar!  Make sure staff is fully aware of the new procedures and has all the necessary supplies to comply.  Build in inspection times and quality control. 

#4:  Market Your COVID-19 Plan

As businesses begin to re-open, customers will be aware of what businesses have communicated their safety plan.  When you begin to market your business as back open for business, follow-up with your plans and protocol.  Your marketing efforts should assure customers that you are serious about safety. 

#5:  Respect the Process

The process of re-opening will constantly adjust as our leaders evaluate the current data.  Just as many people who are ready for business as usual, there are others who will remain very cautious for a while.  If you cater your plan to the cautious, more open consumers will respect those procedures.  The lack of a plan will undoubtedly lose some customers.  The faster we adhere to safety protocols, the faster we will get everyone back to business.

For more resources on COVID-19 and other re-opening tips, visit our resource page here.