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  • AMHERST AREA CHAMBER OF COMMERCE ANNOUNCES 2017 LEGISLATIVE AGENDA

    The Amherst Area Chamber of Commerce (AACC) Board of Directors has approved a legislative agenda for 2017, taking positions on five bills introduced/filed in January. The bills in question address solar incentives, non-competition clauses, zoning, independent contractor status and workers’ compensation.

    “This is a new component of our long-standing practice of advocating for our member businesses at all levels of government, “said AACC Executive Director Tim O’Brien. “While the Chamber cannot and should not attempt to take a position on every bill, we feel it’s appropriate to do so when we believe we can make a strategic difference on behalf of our members.”

    Peter Vickery, chair of the AACC Governmental Affairs Committee, added, “Our board decided to take positions when there are new policies in the hopper that might affect our membership, or when there are initiatives that other chambers statewide have identified as key.  In those latter cases, we weigh in as allies to help achieve critical mass.”

    The five bills, a brief summary of their key elements and the AACC position on each follows.

    A.    Solar Incentive Regulations The Department of Energy Resources (DOER) is developing a statewide solar incentive program to encourage the development of solar renewable energy. The first draft of the regulations would prohibit siting of ground-mounted solar projects on farm land, forest land, core habitats and critical natural landscapes, thereby excluding too many potential sites.

    AACC position: AGAINST The AACC Board voted to adopt this stance because we believe the regulations need greater flexibility for ground-mounted solar project in farm and forest areas. Solar energy is a positive for the Commonwealth and more potential sites offers more opportunity for solar installations.

    B.    Non-competition Agreements In Massachusetts non-competition agreements are already unenforceable for several occupations, including lawyers; physicians; nurses; psychologists; social workers; financial advisors; and broadcasters.

    AACC position: AGAINST The AACC Board voted to adopt this stance because we believe rendering all non-competition agreements between employers and employees (and independent contractors) void and unenforceable would impede the efforts of small businesses to protect their intellectual property. It would be better to address concerns regarding non-competes via narrowly-drawn, occupation-specific legislation. For small businesses – especially start-ups  - intellectual property is vital and helps ensure growth. Anything that undermines the ability to protect intellectual property inhibits new business initiatives. We want the Amherst area to be known for supporting intellectual property, and in turn attract businesses which are built upon innovation.

    C.    Zoning Previous attempts at a comprehensive revision of the zoning laws have eliminated Approval Not Required (ANR) process, prevented variances from automatically running with the land, and allowed municipalities to impose ad hoc development impact fees, and mandate “inclusionary zoning.”

    AACC position: AGAINST The AACC Board voted to adopt this stance because we believe any bills to rewrite the zoning laws should avoid these shortcomings. Zoning regulations impact the very fabric of how we determine what is built and where.

    D.    Independent Contractor Test The Internal Revenue Service uses an 11-factor test for determining whether an individual is an independent contractor.  In contrast, Massachusetts law uses a three-factor test that make it very difficult to hire people as independent contractors. Consistency with the federal test would not reduce protection for employees and would remove an unnecessary barrier to growth and provide a clearer, more predictable, test for employment classification.

    AACC position: AGAINST The AACC Board voted to adopt this stance because using the 11-factor test would benefit companies that work on a national or international level, keeping Massachusetts competitive with other states. Specific to Amherst, the Chamber seeks to make it easier for businesses to hire the talent it needs to grow. The unduly-restrictive three-factor test doesn’t help that to happen.

    E.    Workers Compensation Current law allows employees/members of entities that do not have to maintain Workers Compensation to make claims under policies held by entities that do have to maintain Workers Compensation coverage.

    AACC position: AGAINST The AACC Board voted to adopt this stance because this bill rewards free-riding, with some small businesses subsidizing others.  We seek a level playing field. Companies which have to buy WC should not have to “carry” those which are not so compelled. The Legislature should address the inequity of the current law.

  • CAREER OPPORTUNITY - 

     

    JOB DESCRIPTION POSITION: Marketing & Membership Director - Amherst Area Chamber of Commerce

     

    POSITION STATUS: Full time - exempt

     

    ACCOUNTABLE TO: Executive Director

     

    GENERAL DESCRIPTION: A strong sales and marketing professional responsible for overseeing the planning, development and implementation of membership marketing strategies and event management for the Amherst Area Chamber of Commerce (AACC), under the supervision of the Executive Director. This is a professional position that supports the Executive Director and interacts collaboratively with the AACC staff, interns, volunteers and Board with planned projects and tasks, and other duties as assigned. Position requires meetings and activities outside of regular work hours; must be flexible.

     

    The Marketing & Membership Director is responsible for AACC membership recruitment, retention and associated programs, as well as event planning, marketing, communications and sponsorship solicitation related to events, plus a component of daily office operations.

     

    The Marketing & Membership Director is also responsible for building financial support for Chamber programs and assists with the development of non-dues revenue programs and value-added membership programs.

     

    ESSENTIAL AREAS OF RESPONSIBILITY:

     

    Membership and Marketing Duties  

    • Seeks out new/developing/growing businesses for potential AACC membership

    • Develops and maintains a marketing plan with measurable goals for all AACC membership programs, activities, and events including but not limited to: Ambassador Membership (past, current, and prospective); AACC events and partner events.

    • In conjunction with the AACC Ambassador Chair, coordinates and prepares AACC membership packets. Updates/revised membership packet info, implements membership recruitment and retention strategies, and other membership activities. Plans and executes Chamber Ambassador recruitment, orientation, programs & recognition.

    • Responsible for membership letters of welcome, retention/renewal, thank yous & future invitations.  

    • Seeks to promote and advance reciprocal marketing strategies with other organizations.

    • Assist the AACC Ambassador Chair with executing a “membership care plan” for existing members that includes clearly defined membership benefits for both existing and prospective members.

    • Works with appropriate staff of economic development groups in Amherst Area.  

    • Recruits, schedules and manages college interns and/or work-study students.

    • Provides support to AACC Executive Director and works collaboratively with other staff on all duties as assigned.

     

    Event Production and Management   

    Event management will often require some additional and/or not regularly-scheduled hours. In conjunction with the AACC Executive Director and/or Committee Chairs, designs and manages AACC events including but not limited to the following: A+ Awards Dinner, President’s Luncheon, Legislative Breakfast, Business After/Before Hours, Tri-Chamber Business Expo, Golf Tournament, Ribbon-Cuttings, Ground-Breakings, Membership Drives, Ambassador Programs, BLAAST forums and other events to be created.

     

    Event management & production responsibilities includes but is not limited to the following:

    • Online web promotion; marketing plan & design; communications

    • Media relations & PR

    • Event registration process

    • Event photos

    • Volunteer recruitment; event contracts & invoices; event budgets.

     

    Communications  

    • Maintains professional communications on behalf of AACC via all media platforms  

    • Contributes to periodic e-newsletter  

    • Creates and disseminates effective communication and media releases with membership and community stakeholders via mass email, the AACC website, and social media with approval from Executive Director  

    • Manages communication for all assigned committees and programs regarding meetings, minutes, agendas, etc. (Ambassadors, AACC events, etc.)  

    • Provides all information needed for online Membership Directory listings

    • Collects and receives payments for dues, events, etc. Assists with maintaining reports for current dues status, delinquent dues, invoices and statements for dues and all related event income activities

    • Participates in appropriate conferences and training as assigned

     

    General Office Duties & Customer Service  

    • Provides support to the Executive Director with maintenance of daily financials, payments, banking, etc..

    • Inventory control and mail processing  

    • Assists in ordering office supplies, equipment and other purchases as needed  

    • Provide professional, courteous, cheerful and knowledgeable image to membership, public and Chamber staff at all times.  

    • Supports agency’s overall mission and values.

    • Assists in receiving and directing incoming postal mail, emails and calls.

    • Greets and assists in-office visitors.

     

    Qualification Requirements / Performance Standards  

    Strong communication skills, both verbal and written.  Excellent listening and professional customer service skills.  Ability to prioritize and manage multiple tasks with strong independent organizational skills. Ability to work in a dynamic team environment. Professional appearance and demeanor. Ability to be flexible and accept new responsibilities  

     

    • Experience in nonprofit organizations, fundraising and event planning a plus

    • Flexible with schedule  

    • Proficiency in utilizing the internet, Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Publisher, Google Drive and Google Mail, Constant Contact/Mailchimp or other email marketing programs, and social media in a professional setting  

    • Must be able/willing to learn industry software program(s) i.e. ChamberMaster

    • Requiring at a minimum Associates Degree, plus 5-7 years of full-time experience in marketing/communication, public relations, advertising, hospitality or related field.

    • Prefer a Bachelor’s degree in Marketing, Communication, Business, Journalism or related.

    • Ability to move and/or lift up to 40 lbs.

    • Reliable transportation, valid driver’s license and clean driving record

    • Own cell phone (AACC to provide monthly stipend)

     

    APPLICANTS: Please submit a cover letter (with salary requirements) and resume plus three professional references (saved as a single document) to candidatesearch@amherstarea.com . No phone calls, please. The Amherst Area Chamber of Commerce is an Equal Opportunity Employer.