VOL. 126 | NO. 218 | Tuesday, November 8, 2011
By Andy Meek
The Greater Memphis Chamber’s annual chairman’s luncheon next month is expected to draw more than 1,000 business leaders and elected officials to a celebration of the economic and cultural health of the city.
Local health care work, including that in the Regional Medical Center at Memphis, shown above, will be highlighted at this year’s Greater Memphis Chamber’s annual chairman’s luncheon.
(Photo: Lance Murphey)
That celebration will be cast against the backdrop of an industry that’s focused on the physical health of the city’s residents and visitors.
The chamber’s Dec. 14 luncheon at The Peabody hotel carries the tagline “Do you believe in miracles?” and will spotlight the city’s robust health care community, one of the area’s core business and economic engines.
Moving personal stories from a variety of health care outlets will be shared, fulfilling the “miracles” part of the tagline. In addition to those will be the networking, music, food, a recap of the year and more that’s always part of the event.
John Duncan, vice president of member development for the chamber, said the idea for this year’s bash sprung partly from a conversation he had with ALSAC/St. Jude CEO Richard Shadyac Jr. after last year’s luncheon.
The 2010 event resulted in big news. It was attended by statewide officials like former Tennessee Gov. Phil Bredesen, and officials with Swedish appliance maker Electrolux who chose the event as the occasion to formally unveil their intent to build a $190 million manufacturing plant in Memphis.
“Richard mentioned that St. Jude’s 50th anniversary was coming up in 2012,” Duncan said. “And he said, ‘I know there are other institutions around town celebrating anniversaries as well, so you guys ought to consider some sort of health care celebration.’”
Thus, Duncan said, was born the idea to celebrate the city’s health care industry, meshed with the health of the region from a business perspective.
“We’re talking about health care and medical miracles, we’re talking about the miracles of corporate relocations and expansions, we’re talking about the miracles of business success and sustainability and personal stories, success stories,” Duncan said.
The chamber has around 80 tables for the event, and right now it’s sold an estimated two-thirds of them.
A staff member at the Regional Medical Center at Memphis pushes a gurney through the halls of the hospital.
(Photo: Lance Murphey)
As far as the look back at 2011 will go, plenty happened this year that’s worth celebrating.
Electrolux solidified its commitment to the city. Mitsubishi Electric Power Products Inc. also announced it’s building a new transformer manufacturing plant here.
During a presentation to chamber members last month, Mark Sweeney, a site selection consultant who was involved in the MEPPI project, said Memphis has some extraordinary strengths it can tout to win projects like that one.
“Our manufacturing clients love direct access to all four modes of transportation,” Sweeney said, referring to the nexus of river, road, rail and runway that’s present in Memphis.
Also in 2011 came announcements from Canada-based manufacturer Kruger Inc. that it’s investing $316 million to build a state-of-the-art manufacturing plant here and from City Brewing Co. of La Crosse, Wis., that it would buy a 40-year-old Memphis beer brewery and reinvigorate it.
The Memphis Grizzlies’ 2010-2011 season marked the pinnacle of the team’s 10-year history in Memphis, with the win of its first playoff game and first playoff series – an event that had its own effect in terms of tourism dollars, brand awareness and more.
“Really, what our annual chairman’s luncheon is about is a celebration of our collective success from a business, economic development and community development perspective,” Duncan said. “We want people walking away from there going, ‘I didn’t know that about this town. That blew me away. I am inspired and moved and proud to be a Memphian and part of this business community.’”
For individual tickets to the event or to reserve a table, call Tunga Lee at 543-3571.