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when you are really close to something, you don’t appreciate it as much as an outsider who is experiencing it for a first time does. MBJ: What does Emerge look like in four years when the organization is 10 years old? Fluker: In the 10th anniversary, Emerge is certainly more diverse and is linked to other young professional organizations throughout the region. And Emerge is viewed as a premier sort of benchmark for how young professional organizations should be structured and what type of programming they should actually have. MBJ: Why is Emerge an important organization? Fluker: Emerge is important to the future of Montgomery because when you look at an aging population, this is going to be a support source for the identification of talent; the professional development of talent; and most importantly, the retention of talent. I’m not just talking about retention in the jobs, companies and organizations that we’re in, or retention in the region to make sure that we a have talent base. When you look at one of the No. 1 driving factors of a company deciding to set up shop here in Montgomery – one of

Emerge is important to the future of Montgomery. the things they look at is what’s the available talent pool? There is value in being able to have that source of talent. MBJ: Please talk about the role Emerge has played in helping Montgomery become a more attractive city to young professionals? Fluker: I will boldly say this and that is we often talk about Montgomery being ‘capital cool.’ The mayor uses that term. I don’t think many people would argue with me and say that the cool piece is Emerge. When you look at what is going on in The Alley, you run into groups often at different restaurants and bars. You have a lot of Emerge members who are supporting that so that’s a key relevant piece in terms of supporting that nightlife and that social activity. The other thing is there is a

brain trust. I think there is a set of creative thinkers that you see that business leaders like Jerry Kyser leverage and hire into their organizations. There are very few restaurants – in fact, I can’t think of any restaurants that have opened in Montgomery in the time that I’ve been here – where we were not invited as the first set of individuals to give a perspective. It’s beyond that when MercedesBenz launched its new under $30,000 (model), we were the first group contacted by Jack Ingram to host an event at Jack Ingram in order to have that population exposed to that new vehicle given that we represent that demographic. I think we are the cool in capital cool. •

March 2014 Montgomery Business Journal

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Profile for Montgomery Area Chamber of Commerce

Montgomery Business Journal – March 2014  

Montgomery Business Journal – March 2014