I was a tad surprised to read in Around Town where the incoming chairman of the Cobb County Chamber of Commerce, John Loud, he of the eponymous Loud Security, claimed at a recent meeting of the Metro Marietta Kiwanis Club that he was going to shake things up during his upcoming term as chairman.I was not aware that the organization needed shaking or even stirred, but I am a bit behind the times. The Cobb Chamber and I haven’t said howdy since David Connell retired as president and CEO and David Bottoms served as chairman. Two class acts.
One of the things Loud says he is going to do is discontinue the Cobb Chamber’s venerable First Monday breakfasts. Why, I’m not sure. “Next year there will be no such thing as a first Monday breakfast,” he told the Kiwanians, “First Monday will go away.” I don’t think Mr. Loud meant to imply that first Mondays are going away — just the breakfasts.
First Monday breakfasts have long been an institution in town. Practically Everybody who is Anybody has spoken at First Mondays. (Well, OK, there was one Nobody who, as I recall, regaled the crowd some years back with a speech filled with foot-stomping hilarity, while interspersed with unparalleled pearls of wisdom — but I digress.)
“There’ll be a little different energy that’ll go on next year,” Loud promised, “A lot of changes and plans can be worked out when they give me a year and a half to focus and think about it.”
The Cobb Chamber recently announced they were moving to Circle 75 Parkway in Cumberland, across from SunTrust Park and The Battery Atlanta. They will also be unveiling a new logo. I guess those can be described as “fun changes,” although having moved offices several times in my career was anything but fun. I’m not sure about logos.
As I said, I have been out of the loop for a while, but I think the Cobb Chamber of Commerce is a pretty effective organization and I’m not sure why it needs “a different energy.”
Like the way it was handled or not, the chamber was an energetic player in the Atlanta Braves move from Malfunction Junction to its current location and with it, the development of the Battery.
They do a lot of other neat things, too, like supporting the military and public education and economic development and helping start-up businesses and identifying and working with the next generation of leaders in the county.
Of the more than 400 events the Cobb Chamber hosts each year, nothing can top recognizing our men and women in public safety in the county.
This week is Public Safety Appreciation Week and on this past Monday — a first Monday (Wink! Wink!) — the chamber honored a group of local heroes from throughout the county for doing stuff you and I couldn’t do and wouldn’t do for what they are paid. (Don’t get me started about what we pay actors and professional athletes and what we pay educators and public safety personnel. It will ruin my day and likely yours, too.)
Awards were presented to seven winning individuals and teams from Cobb law enforcement and public safety departments who did everything from taking on human trafficking to administering CPR to getting shot by bad guys (and surviving) to hostage rescue to fire rescue.
Our new district attorney, Joyette Holmes, the keynote speaker at the event, said it best: “(Public safety personnel) go out to protect us, the people of this community, on a daily basis. They’re doing the job every day, so we don’t see hundreds more incidents of violence or risk to us. They are the first responders and we owe them a debt of gratitude.” Amen.
While Mr. Loud is aiming for fun changes and a different energy at the Cobb County Chamber of Commerce, I hope he isn’t trying to fix something that isn’t broken in this 2,500-member organization. After all, volunteer chairmen — and I was one of those for more organizations than I can count on fingers and toes — come and go to be followed by more volunteer chairmen with more ideas. For the staffs, it is learning to go with the flow. Somehow, they do it. That is why they are called professionals. Good luck to all.
On a totally different subject, I was saddened to learn of the passing of legendary attorney and civic leader Fred (Bowtie) Bentley Sr. at the age of 92. I never met him in person, but I have known of him and his good deeds and his achievements for many years.
On several occasions, he sent me a note regarding something I had written on these pages. Like the man himself, his comments were thoughtful and positive. The fact that he read my columns and took the time to write, I considered a high compliment. I still do. We are poorer for his passing and better because he was here.