The 127-year-old Lawrence Chamber of Commerce has set a new date for its annual meeting.
For years, the chamber meeting was in April to coincide with the start of the chamber's fiscal year, April 1 to March 31. Now the chamber's fiscal year is Jan. 1 to Dec. 31, prompting chamber officials to move the group's annual meeting to 6 tonight at the Lawrence Holidome, 200 McDonald Drive.
"Now we are on a calendar year," said July Billings, director of the Lawrence Convention and Visitors Bureau. "Since the history of the chamber, as far as we can tell, the annual meeting had always been in April. The reason for the change is financial. It will make it easier to budget.
"It just so happened the right people were in place, and they made the decision that it was in our best interest for budgeting purposes to start a calendar year."
Chamber members will celebrate the past year, honor Athena Award winner Marilyn Bittenbender and Citizen of the Years Award winner Bob Georgeson, and welcome new chamber chairwoman Shirley Martin-Smith. Martin-Smith is owner of Martin-Smith Personnel Services Inc. and Adecco in Lawrence, Topeka and Wichita.
Steve Doocy, co-anchor for Fox News Channel's "Fox and Friends," is the meeting's guest speaker.
"It's nice to be able to kick the year off when the year actually starts," said Billings, who expects more than 600 people to attend tonight's meeting.
The chamber plans to have a smaller meeting April 29 at the Leadership Lawrence celebration, where more award winners will be recognized.
|What: Lawrence Chamber of Commerce annual meeting.When: 6 p.m. today, social hour; 7 p.m. today, dinner, awards and program.Where: Lawrence Holidome, 200 McDonald Drive.|
US Bank is the headline sponsor for tonight's meeting.
Gold sponsors are Aquila, Capitol Federal Savings Bank, Crown Chevrolet-Oldsmobile-Toyota, Huxtable & Associates Inc., Hy-Vee Food & Drug Store, Intrust Bank, Lawrence Memorial Hospital, Westar Energy and The World Company.
Silver sponsors are Creative Expressions Graphic Design, Sauer-Danfoss Inc. and Wal-Mart.
Bronze sponsors are Cork & Barrel, Douglas County Bank, Grubb & Ellis/The Winbury Group,, Jayhawk File Express, McDonald's, Pearson Government Solutions and Toshiba Business Solutions.