The Tempe Chamber of Commerce’s Annual Luncheon provided the area business collective a look back at its past, as well as a glimpse into the future for area commerce and the organization itself.
The event, hosted at the Sheraton Phoenix Airport Hotel on June 28, focused on both honoring the chamber’s past and projecting what the future will hold for the organization. On the former front, the organization recognized its retiring board members and outgoing committee chairs for their service and congratulated a number of long-term members as well. Those members encompassed the chamber’s 25-year enrollees — Medtronic Tempe Campus, Native New Yorker, Parsons Brinckerhoff, Storage Solutions of Tri-City and Wells Fargo Bank — and the seven members — Anderson Church & Co., Arizona Business Forms, Brock Supply, Childsplay, TCH, U.S. Airways and Valley of the Sun United Way — who have been with the chamber for 30 years.
The look into the future came in the form of a speech from 2013-14 chairman of the board Jeff Mirasola, who reinforced the changing nature of technology and social media and said the generation of workers set to graduate high school and college in the near future will have vastly different jobs than they had before.
“Many of the jobs they’ll have haven’t been determined,” he said.
That, he said, makes a chamber of commerce valuable for businesses, as it keeps tabs on the constantly-changing technological landscape and provides members updates and information about innovation.
Even with the impending shifts in jobs, Mirasola was optimistic about the long-term viability of the city’s economy.
“Good things are coming; there are excellent opportunities for Tempe,” he said.
Combining the two themes was keynote speaker Steve Mihaylo, who founded Phoenix-based Inter-Tel in 1969 and transformed it from a one-person operation to a global enterprise. Mihaylo, who sold the company in 2007, used a few anecdotes to relay how he was able to grow his first company through ingenuity and drive.
“We’re really capable of more than we think we are,” he said.
Mihaylo also mentioned the next wave of technology in the cloud-based services his current company Crexendo operates. He said those services, which encompass phone and online, can aid companies in their day-to-day business while saving money as well.
Getting Crexendo where it is now wasn’t easy: Mihaylo, who is the Tempe company’s CEO, said he had to close it down and revamp the company’s business model — one that saw the company face a number of lawsuits from 11 states and even Australia when he came onboard — to make it a stronger company with a solid future.
“We’re really going to be a force here in Arizona and in the United States,” he said.
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