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Strategic Plan


ROAD MAP Without a road map, it is not easy to

Chamber’s Strategic Plan – the three-

get where you want to go; but the

year initiative that your Chamber will

Chamber has a road map – a three-year

follow to drive the economic vitality of

strategic plan that will help us capitalize

the business community and the region

on the strengths of your chamber and

through leadership, advocacy and

our region to chart the course for an


innovative and prosperous future.

Our vision: The Greater Springfield

As on any detailed map, there are

Region is a leader for innovation and

different routes to get to a destination.


The direct route, is often the fastest. While the direct route is often the fastest, we know that achieving our goals of Convening Leaders and Influencers to Get Things Done, Championing Business Growth, and Being a Catalyst for Thriving Communities may take us in

I invite you to keep reading and in the pages that follow, you will see our ambitious, but achievable plan. Your support of these initiatives is essential to our success. We welcome you on the journey and thank you for your engagement.

different directions, in the end, they will all intersect. It is my pleasure as your Board Chair to


introduce you to the Springfield Regional

Springfield Regional Chamber Strategic Plan FY 2019 - 2021



Springfield Regional Chamber Strategic Plan FY 2019 - 2021


The Springfield Regional Chamber is

The results are inspiring and are truly

thrilled to share with you the content

a testament to the benefits of bringing

of our 2019-2021 Strategic Plan. We’re

leaders together around a common goal.

calling it our road map to the future and

We all benefit from a well-crafted plan

we’d like you to come along for the ride.

and the process involved in creating it.

With the support of our members,

Our plan is ambitious and we would like

I know we can continue to position the

you to consider how you might help.

Greater Springfield region as a leader

We have work to do, and I invite you

for innovation and prosperity.

to participate at whatever level makes

Our Strategic Plan is a three-year

sense for you.

initiative to promote our strengths,

One thing is certain – we can’t do this

expand our existing businesses and

work without you.

emerging opportunities, and significantly improve the economic future for all who call the Springfield region home. We are grateful to our Board of Directors, staff, business, community and municipal leaders from across the region

Thank you for your partnership, your ongoing support and for being a champion for our Chamber and our region. Together, we will create a prosperous future.

who came together to identify our strengths, challenges, and opportunities and to help define successful outcomes


and the steps needed to achieve them.

Springfield Regional Chamber Strategic Plan FY 2019 - 2021



A successful strategic plan requires an accurate appraisal of our strengths and challenges. By identifying our strengths and being candid about our challenges, we can leverage

STRENGTHS POPULATION - The Springfield metropolitan area has a population of 730,000, includes 52 cities and towns and is one of three metropolitan areas in the state – the others are the Boston area and the Worcester area. Springfield is the fourth largest city in New England. PROXIMITY – Strategically located at the crossroads of I-90 and I-91, Springfield is located 30 minutes from Hartford, CT, 90 minutes from Boston and three hours from New York City. TRANSPORTATION - Union Station in Springfield provides Amtrak service to Boston and New York City, while CT Rail offers a commuter line to Hartford and New Haven. Union Station is also the hub for regional bus transportation. Bradley International Airport is a short distance away. EDUCATION AND LABOR MARKET – Known as the Knowledge Corridor, the region has one of the country’s highest academic concentrations with 41 colleges and universities. INDUSTRY SECTORS – Springfield is home to one of Massachusetts’ largest Fortune 100 companies, MassMutual; Baystate Health, the largest healthcare employer in the region; Merriam-Webster; and MGM Resorts, as well as Big Y World Class Supermarkets. The top industry sectors in the region are education and health and human services, trade, transportation, utilities, and government. QUALITY OF LIFE – Residents enjoy a vibrant arts and cultural community, including the Springfield Museums and the Springfield Symphony, as well as sporting events - Springfield is home to the Thunderbirds AHL hockey team, as well as the Basketball Hall of Fame. Abundant hiking trails and open space offer the opportunity for a range of recreational activity. Residents enjoy short commute times to work, school, and less traffic than many urban centers. The cost of living in the region is ranked 1% lower than the national average and nearly 20% lower than Boston or Hartford, with a median home price of $124,000.


Springfield Regional Chamber Strategic Plan FY 2019 - 2021

CHALLENGES The Springfield region has its challenges, both real and perceived,

GROWTH – Population growth in the region has been low to moderate in comparison to other metropolitan areas, with little to no growth in school-age children, hindering the growth of future leaders. BUSINESS CLIMATE – Business issues are often driven by ballot initiatives rather than legislation, which means the results are determined by voters. Business and industrial tax rates in Springfield and Holyoke are the highest in the region, causing some businesses to locate outside urban centers. INFRASTRUCTURE – The region is faced with inadequacies in comprehensive planning, non-collaborative municipalities, and aging infrastructure. State budgetary constraints have resulted in deep cuts to the regional public transportation system, resulting in lack of affordable commuter service. EDUCATION AND LABOR MARKET – Despite the abundance of secondary educational institutions, only 28% of residents have college degrees and 23% of residents don’t have a high school diploma. Employers have unfilled positions due to the lack of educated and skilled workers, competition for talent and the inability to attract and retain talent. QUALITY OF LIFE - Annual median income for the region is $58,000, which is lower compared to Massachusetts residents overall. The poverty rate in the region is 29%, which is much higher than the national rate of 14.4%. As well, Hampden County ranks last in the state for overall health outcomes, including last in the state for physical quality of life. POOR IMAGE – High levels of poverty and crime rates, aged infrastructure and negative perceptions have made Springfield be seen as a place from the past rather than a road to the future. Much work has been done to revitalize the city and that image and there is more to be done. COMPETITION AND DUPLICATION – There are many chambers of commerce – five of them neighboring Springfield, as well as several convention and visitors bureaus and economic development and workforce organizations as well as many other nonprofit organizations competing for revenue and support with minimal collaboration around common goals.

These challenges are not insurmountable. WE HAVE A PLAN. Springfield Regional Chamber Strategic Plan FY 2019 - 2021



The Springfield region has collective assets, which could be leveraged to develop a sustainable economic future for employers and residents, including:

OPPORTUNITIES COLLABORATION – The Springfield Regional Chamber, Economic Development Council of Western Massachusetts, MassHire Hampden Country Workforce Board, Greater Springfield Convention and Visitors Bureau and the City of Springfield are working together to market the region, attract primary employers, help existing employers to expand and to increase the base skills of workers to grow the economy. NEW DEVELOPMENT AND EXISTING BUSINESS – MGM brought 3,000 new jobs to the region, MassMutual and manufacturing companies are expanding, attracting suppliers and other companies. Quality of life assets in the region can offer opportunities for commercial investment and future growth and provide resources existing businesses to support their growth initiatives. DEVELOPING A SENSE OF PLACE – A marketing campaign will increase the visibility of the region and its unique assets, provide opportunities for diverse segments of the population, and create community pride to all who call Western Massachusetts “home.” PRO-BUSINESS ENVIRONMENT – Ongoing advocacy for business investment, public policy, and long-term vision is needed to bring about changes to develop an environment to attract and retain businesses in the region. INCREASE BUSINESS AND PROFESSIONAL SERVICES – Creation of additional services to foster emerging enterprises and support growth of existing businesses in the region will enhance economic prosperity for small businesses. YOUNG PROFESSIONALS - A large number of bright and talented individuals are attracted to the region by the many colleges and universities here. Efforts must be focused on strategies to retain these individuals after graduation. By partnering with the Young Professionals Society and other organizations and engaging them in community activities and connecting them with career opportunities, the region could develop the future talent pool needed for employers.


Springfield Regional Chamber Strategic Plan FY 2019 - 2021

WHERE W E ’ R E G O I N G The Springfield Regional Chamber’s strategic plan is a three-year initiative to promote our strengths, expand our existing businesses and business opportunities, and significantly improve the economic future for all who call Springfield home. Our priorities will focus on the following:

CONVENE LEADERS AND INFLUENCERS TO GET THINGS DONE Represent the interests of the business community in the Springfield region

CHAMPION BUSINESS GROWTH Help small businesses in the Springfield region gain a competitive edge

BE A CATALYST FOR THRIVING COMMUNITIES Create a shared vision for the Springfield Region

Springfield Regional Chamber Strategic Plan FY 2019 - 2021


HOW W E ’ R E G O I N G TO G E T T H E R E PRIORITY AREA: CONVENE LEADERS AND INFLUENCERS TO GET THINGS DONE Represent the interests of the business community in the Springfield region.

BARRIERS: Perceived redundancy/messaging and confusion, limited regional resources and time and money, politics/competition/silos, legacy-thinking, getting the right people in the room at the same time, execution and capacity, image problem/evolving, lack of diversity. SUCCESS METRICS: Partnerships/collaborations, initiatives and impacts, engagement, membership growth, stakeholder feedback.


A business-friendly environment that stimulates economic growth.

• Identify regulatory burdens that impede regional growth. • Advocate for pro-business policies and initiatives that support regional growth. • Connect policymakers with the business community.


Be the voice of the business community.

• Increase awareness about issues that impact small businesses. • Provide channels to circumvent regulatory issues that impede local businesses.


Engaged leaders address the biggest challenges facing

the region. • Identify the most pressing challenges facing businesses in the region. • Bring leaders together to discuss hot topics and solutions.


Springfield Regional Chamber Strategic Plan FY 2019 - 2021

Springfield Regional Chamber Strategic Plan FY 2019 - 2021


PRIORITY AREA: CHAMPION BUSINESS GROWTH Help small businesses in the Springfield region gain a competitive edge

BARRIERS: No single repository/clearinghouse, lack of time, need for immediate ROI/value, duplication among organizations, lack of financial resources, different growth stages among small businesses, national competition/Internet, “hidden economy” of microbusinesses, lack of clarity as to what is a “small business”: talent barrier-talent goes elsewhere, need sales for growth. SUCCESS METRICS: Partnerships/collaborations, engagement, success stories, membership growth, stakeholder feedback. OUTCOME 1:

Connect small businesses with the resources they need.

• Foster collaborative partnerships to increase resources for entrepreneurial development. • Be a One Stop Shop for small business.


Help small businesses increase their market share.

• Promote small businesses in the region. • Help small businesses serve as suppliers to larger organizations. • Increase the capacity of small businesses to grow.

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Springfield Regional Chamber Strategic Plan FY 2019 - 2021

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PRIORITY AREA: CATALYST FOR THRIVING COMMUNITIES Creating a shared vision for the Springfield region.

BARRIERS: Organizations view others as competitors, not currently a shared vision, financial, resources, logistics, lack of education/awareness of each organization’s mission, territorialism. SUCCESS METRICS: Partnerships/collaborations, collective vision for the region, projects/initiatives and outcomes, stakeholder feedback.

OUTCOME 1: Connected and collaborative communities. • Identify shared priorities. • Celebrate the assets and positive activities in our communities. • Develop the next generation of leaders.

OUTCOME 2: Blueprint for the future. • Align priorities with those of our members and partners. • Adopt the FutureCity Study • Cultivate resources to implement priorities

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Springfield Regional Chamber Strategic Plan FY 2019 - 2021

Springfield Regional Chamber Strategic Plan FY 2019 - 2021

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OUR V I S I O N STAT E M E N T The Greater Springfield region is a leader for innovation and prosperity.

OUR M I SS I O N STAT E M E N T Driving the economic vitality of the business community and region through leadership, advocacy and partnerships.

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Springfield Regional Chamber Strategic Plan FY 2019 - 2021

Springfield Regional Chamber Strategic Plan FY 2019 - 2021

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For the 2019-2021 Strategic Plan to be successful, we need engagement as well as involvement from a broad base of community and business leaders. The Springfield Regional Chamber of Commerce will provide the staffing and overall management of this plan, but the execution of these priorities and the opportunity to succeed relies on our volunteer leaders and the engagement of our members. This plan is ambitious, but we can accomplish the priorities set forth through strong leadership, dedication, commitment and broad collaboration. We will know which goals we are achieving and which need more attention, but we need your support to make them happen.


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Springfield Regional Chamber Strategic Plan FY 2019 - 2021


Patricia Canavan Mark French Nancy Creed Barbara-Jean Deloria David Parke

Paul Bailey Hugh Barrett Ellen Cummings Dawn Distefano John Doleva David Ference Jeffrey Fialky Tejas Gandhi Daniel Glanville James Goodwin Tiffany Greene Jody Gross Denise Hurst Lynn Ireland Art Jasper Stuart Jones Michael Kane Daniel Keenan Jenny MacKay Judith Matt Martin Miller Timothy Murphy Gillian Palmer John Perez Evan Plotkin Alan Popp Meghan Sullivan Mary Walachy Michael Vedovelli

Chair Vice Chair President Treasurer Secretary

United Personnel The Republican Springfield Regional Chamber Florence Bank Bulkley, Richardson and Gelinas LLP

Springfield Partners for Community Action, Inc. MassMutual VERIZON Square One Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame TD Bank Bacon Wilson, P.C. Baystate Health Comcast Cable Communications, LLC Center For Human Development, Inc. Disability Management Services, Inc. Health New England Springfield Technical Community College Viability Inc. Cellite Engineers Inc. dba Johnstone Supply Springfield College Columbia Gas of Massachusetts Mercy Medical Center Professional Women’s Chamber Spirit of Springfield, Inc. New England Public Radio Skoler, Abbott & Presser P.C. Professional Women’s Chamber Consilium Opis, LLC NAI Plotkin Mason Wright Senior Living Sullivan, Hayes & Quinn, LLC Irene E. & George A. Davis Foundation Eversource

Springfield Regional Chamber Strategic Plan FY 2019 - 2021

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1441 Main Street, Springfield, MA 01103 413-787-1555

Funding for the Strategic Plan Development Provided by The Irene E. and George A. Davis Foundation MassHire Hampden County Workforce Mason Wright Foundation MassMutual Foundation NiSource Charitable Foundation


Strategic Plan FY 2019-2021

Profile for Maureen Sullivan

Springfield Regional Chamber Strategic Plan  

Springfield Regional Chamber Strategic Plan