Updated: Wed, 01/09/2013 - 01:04

Hubbard: Economic Outlook Luncheon sheds light on local and state business trends for 2013

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As we welcome 2013, the Savannah Area Chamber of Commerce and our members are planning for the year ahead.

Looming questions about the impacts of federal policies, such as the fiscal cliff and the Affordable Care Act, coupled with other economic uncertainties about the economy weigh into the decisions local businesses make regarding spending, hiring, firing, cutbacks and more.

To answer some of these questions and to shed some light on the future, the chamber plans and hosts the Economic Outlook Luncheon each January for our members. At this event, we bring in two experts to speak beyond the jargon and project what the 2013 economic climate looks like and how businesses can prepare. Dean Robert Sumichrast from the University of Georgia’s Terry College of Business will present the state and national projections, and Dr. Michael Toma of Armstrong Atlantic State University will discuss the forecast for the coastal region and the Savannah area. Both are extremely knowledgeable and well-respected in their field.

We will also provide each attendee with an updated copy of our Economic Trends publication that provides details about the 2013 forecasts, as well as specifics on business and industry in the Savannah area.

I encourage you to attend this event as part of your planning for the year ahead. In addition to the educational benefits of the Economic Outlook Luncheon, this also provides the chance to network with a pool of esteemed, local professionals. Typically, more than 600 attend this event.

This event will begin at noon Jan. 17 at the Westin Savannah Harbor Golf Resort & Spa. The cost is $40 per person for members and $400 for a table, and non-members can attend for $50 per person and $500 for a table. This event is sponsored by Gulfstream Aerospace, and is presented by Colony Bank, Gas South, Wendy’s, Savannah Tire, Stage Front Presentation Systems, the University of Georgia’s Terry College of Business and Armstrong Atlantic State University.

For more information about the Economic Outlook Luncheon, contact Margaret Mary Russell at 912-644-6432 or email her at MRussell@SavannahChamber.com. To register for this event or for more about the chamber, go to SavannahChamber.com.

I would also like to take this opportunity to remind you of another beloved and advantageous networking opportunity happening a few hours after the Economic Outlook Luncheon, the 15th annual Hockey Business Connection. People do business with people they know, and these events provide an avenue for members to market their products or services to local professionals directly, make new partnerships and hopefully find new customers. Last year, this event drew more than 350 attendees.

At this event, members can enjoy food, provided by Outback Steakhouse — Downtown, beverages and a great view the kickoff game for the Savannah Tire Hockey Classic, also celebrating its 15th year. Entry into the Hockey Business Connection includes a ticket to that evening’s game when the Citadel will take on the University of South Carolina.

The Hockey Business Connection is Jan. 17 from 5:30 – 7:30 p.m. in the Exhibit Hall of the Savannah Civic Center. The cost is $15 for members and $30 for member guests. Remember that any employee of a member company can attend for the member rate. No RSVP is necessary to attend. This event is sponsored by Deemer, Dana & Froehle, LLP, I-95 and CBS Sports Radio 102.1 FM, Nightingale Services, Inc., Outback Steakhouse — Downtown and Seacrest Partners, Inc. For more information, contact Small Business and Events Manager Cally D’Angelo at 912-644-6459 or email her at CDAngelo@SavannahChamber.com.

The Savannah Area Chamber of Commerce is working hard to support the local business community and to help our 2,200 members remain productive and prosperous. To join the Savannah Area Chamber, go to SavannahChamber.com or call 912-644-6400. I hope that 2013 is looking bright for you and your business and that we will see you at these events Jan. 17.

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