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Chamber encouraged to make difference

Business members from all across the county gathered at the Troy Country Club Friday for the Pike County Chamber of Commerce’s annual luncheon.

Chief Executive Officer of the Business Council of Alabama William Canary, who encouraged chamber members gathered to be active voices in the community, keynoted this year’s luncheon.

“Each and every one of us here deals with reality,” Canary said. “You know together we can and will make a difference.”

Canary, who has worked with chambers of commerce across the state, has formed a partnership between the two entities, a partnership that has played an active role in Alabama government.

Working last year to advocate legislation for small businesses with 25 or less to be able to provide health insurance with tax deductions, Canary encouraged members gathered they can do similar things again.

“There are 124 places where people make a difference in their communities — they are called the chambers of commerce in Alabama,” Canary said.

What Canary called business leaders gathered at the country club to do next is advocate for education.

“Some would argue being pro-business and pro-education are not in the same light,” Canary said. “I would argue there is no other way to do it.”

And with drop out rates across the country climbing, Canary said business leaders should work hard to protect the future workforce.

“Collectively, I think businesses as a whole in south Alabama need to play an active role in supporting education much more aggressively,” Canary said.

With education standards climbing as well, Canary said there will be fewer workers in the next generation if drop out rates don’t improve.

Pike County Chamber of Commerce President Jenniffer Barner said the luncheon provided encouragement to all those gathered Friday.

“His message of how important our members are to the success of the business climate in Alabama was good to hear,” Barner said.