Committees

The real power of the Somerville Chamber of Commerce is found in our committees and business interest groups where the energies, expertise and leadership of member volunteers: focus on specific issues; amplify members’ voices; guide policy; and make things happen. These member-driven power centers include ten Committees and seven Business Interest Groups.

Committees

Committees focus on the Chamber’s management and operations and our community-wide mission. Committees may have size limits and prerequisites. All committees: collaborate with staff; report to the Chamber’s Board of Directors; and meet consistent with the Chamber’s master schedule at the call of the committee chair. If you are a Chamber member interested in getting involved on a committee, please contact the committee chair.

Business After Hours
The BAH Committee designs, develops, and manages the Chamber’s networking series that features Somerville ‘s fabulous world of Dining & Nightlife.
Education
The Education Committee is a full partner with our public schools to develop a better working relationship with the business communities. We strive to create a win-win cooperative form to improve the opportunities of Somerville students to be the most valuable assets of our members. Creating workshops to teach such skills and encourage such qualities as: punctuality; reliability; honesty, first time employment training; striving to live a lifetime of learning. The Committee is: engaged in the Sponsor-a-School program; provides leadership for the Vocational High School Advisory Board; and has established a partnership with Bunker Hill Community College to conduct a workforce needs assessment and to design subsequent training modules for our members.
Executive
The Executive Committee reviews the finances, administration, and committee activity and serves as the personnel committee and the strategic planning committee. Meeting monthly, the Committee prepares the agenda of the Board of Directors meeting.
Events
The Events Committee oversees all face-to-face networking activities to ensure that members are being well connected. The Events Committee coordinates the annual dinner and golf tournament and also collaborates with the: Business After Hours Committee; Dining & Nightlife Group’s annual Taste of Somerville and Oktoberfest; the Government Affairs Committee’s Business Town Meeting; and any other such events of other committees.
Government Affairs
The Government Affairs Committee oversees the public affairs events and public policy positions and initiatives. As issues relate to Chamber members and Somerville’s economy and our urban quality of life, the Committee tracks the: legislative activity of the Board of Aldermen and its twelve committees; regulatory activity of over a dozen city boards and commissions; and administrative and enforcement activity of various city departments and agencies. The Committee is responsible for maintaining a positive and productive relationship with: city government; the business/employer/developer community and the community at large.
Information Technology (IT)
The Information Technology Committee provides guidance to the Chamber staff on IT issues and is responsible for the design, development, and maintenance of the Chamber’s IT resources including: an office computer network, electronic communications, and the website www.somervillechamber.org.
Membership
The Membership Committee is responsible for: establishing & monitoring benefits & services; overseeing privileges and rights; enhancing the value of membership; serving as a team of ambassadors; tracking membership satisfaction; & from time to time offering special opportunities to join.
Nominating

The Nominating Committee invites member input and prepares and presents to the membership (at least ten days prior to the annual meeting) a list of candidates for the ten directors for the next three-year Class and a list of Officers for the year and makes recommendations to fill any Board vacancies. Nominations by members shall be made to the Committee and, if in writing and endorsed by five members, shall be placed on the ballot. The Committee has full charge of the election, arranges the ballot in alphabetical order, counts the ballots and announces the results. During 2006 the Board of Directors passed the following resolution relative to the Committee.

“The Somerville Chamber of Commerce is a voluntary business/employer association. Annually, the main representatives of member companies and organizations elect a class of ten Directors to serve for three years. The Board elects Officers to serve for one year. In fulfilling its duties relative to the annual election, the Nominating Committee should consider the: recruitment of certain talents, skills and commitments it deems necessary or desirable for the Board; representation of diverse industries, professions, and business districts across the city on the Board; and reflection of the people in the membership and the wider business community in the overall composition of the Board.”

Powerhouse Awards
The Powderhouse Awards Committee invites members to nominate candidates for the series of awards for excellence. The Committee has full charge of the nomination process and serves as the awards jury. Traditionally, the Committee announces and presents the awards during the Annual Dinner. The Awards are: Distinguished Service; Excellence in Dining & Nightlife; Non-profit of the Year: Business Neighbor of the Year; Excellence in Public Service; Small Business of the Year; Excellence in Economic Development; and the John W. Fitzgerald Lifetime Achievement Award.
The New Group
Since the turn of the millennium, the Chamber and its 21st Century Achievements could not have been realized without the generous and visionary support and economic leadership of The New Group. In addition to financially sustaining Chamber staff at its current level, The New Group has been focused on our urban quality of life and the economic vitality and sustainability of Somerville. The Group has been responsible for: identifying Somerville’s Boston/Cambridge Development Zone, positioning Somerville in the “Brainpower Triangle” of Tufts, MIT and Harvard; promoting “Somerville…New England’s Next Business Address;” and being first to advocate for greater Boston to “Complete the Hub” with the Green Line through Somerville. The Group continues to work with the local community and greater Boston’s business media, planners, investors and developers toward the advancement of a world-class Boston/Cambridge/Somerville urban nucleus.

Business Interest Groups

The Chamber encourages the association of members along professional, industry, and business district interests and has directed the staff to serve and support these interests through Business Interest Groups (BIGs). Once recognized by the Board, a BIG’s membership automatically includes all members in the respective profession, industry, or business district. Currently, the Chamber has one professional BIG, one industry BIG, and five business district BIGs. All BIGs: work in collaboration with the staff; report to the Chamber’s Board of Directors; and meet consistent with the Chamber’s master schedule at the call of the BIG Chair. To be involved in existing BIG leadership, contact the BIG chair. To explore starting a new BIG, contact staff at 617-776-4100.

Professional Category

IT BIG

Somerville has incubated companies like Z Corporation (the world’s fastest 3-D printers) and iRobot (NASDAQ: IRBT — a world leader in robotics). Throughout our various industries — that support the region’s high technology, higher education, financial services, health care services, and design services — there is spirit and track record of IT innovation and success. The Information Technology Business Interest Group seeks to bring together people the IT fields from across all industries for professional and social networking. If your business or employer is a Chamber member and you work in IT, you are included. The IT BIG membership is synonymous with the new IT Committee membership. Helping to make all of Somerville a great place to visit, live, work, study, play and shop.

Industry Category

Dining & Nightlife

Dining & Nightlife is the jewel of Somerville ‘s economy. Recognized throughout greater Boston and beyond, Dining & Nightlife is the reason many people seek to live, work, and play here. The Dining & Nightlife Group: serves as an advocate for this industry before municipal boards and commissions; helps coordinate industry education and marketing activities; and helps promote Somerville as a premiere Dining & Nightlife destination in greater Boston. New beer & wine licenses for small restaurants, 2 am closing hours, technical assistance on regulatory matters, and a series of events including the Taste of Somerville, Oktoberfest, and Business After Hours are among the achievements of this group.

Business District Category

Assembly Square BIG

Assembly Square is the region’s rising 145-acre destination for recreation, commerce and a 21 st Century urban village. Closer to downtown Boston than most of the City of Boston and between the historic Mystic River, Interstate 93, and the Orange Line, the Assembly Square Marketplace of superstores is the first in a series of new developments that will involve a retail, residential and office community in a walkable waterfront setting. Since the mid 90s, the Assembly Sq BIG has been working with the community, local government, and developers to advocate for mixed-use development oriented toward the ancient river, the present community and the future transit service.

Broadway BIG

Broadway is Someville’s string of jewels — unique, pedestrian-scale, neighborhood business districts along the city’s major three-mile business boulevard including: East Broadway, Winter Hill, Magoun Square, Ball Square, Powderhouse, and the Teele Square/Clarendon Hill area. This historic business boulevard is comparable to Union Square and Davis Square for many great dining destinations, convenient personal, professional, and financial services, and a host of boutique retailers. Over the years, the BIG has helped bring reporters and TV programs to a number of the neighborhood districts. Since the mid-90s, the BIG has also worked from one end of Broadway to the other with city agencies and residents to help redesign parking, crosswalks, traffic lights, loading zones, and bus stops. With the administration of Mayor Joseph Curtatone, the BIG has welcomed the East Somerville Main Streets program and “a return to community self-reliance and local empowerment, based on…unique assets: a diverse community, thriving economic activity, distinctive architecture and local ownership.”

Broadway – Ball SquareBroadway – East BroadwayBroadway – Winter Hill Broadway – Magoun SquareBroadway – Teele Square

Davis Sq BIG

Since the 1990s, Davis Square has been called one of the hippest places in North America (Utne Reader). The Square enjoys a vibrant, diverse urban village with an intimate streetlife of owner-operated shops and small businesses. By day, this pedestrian-scale regional nexus pulsates with a busy mix of Redline transit and community bike path commuters, famous coffeehouses, convenient markets, unique retail boutiques, financial services; personal care, business, and professional services; and health, wellness, and fitness providers. Then, the Square really revs up with Davis After Dark. The Davis Square BIG has helped add value to this phenomenon: by encouraging and amplifying the message through magazine, newspaper, and television coverage; by supporting community festivals here; by introducing new special events; by stimulating improvements such as hard-wired trees for festive lighting; by supporting a new 200-seat Davis Square Theater; and by addressing the everyday needs of the Square – traffic and parking, maintenance & beautification, and regulatory matters.

Inner Belt BIG

In the commercial real estate history of greater Boston , the Inner Belt Park has been recognized as one of the most successful industrial parks in greater Boston . Today, next to the billion-dollar NorthPoint development and nearly within the shadow of the Zakim Bunker Hill Bridge , the Inner Belt Business Park is one of the four cornerstones of the urban core for robust fiber optic high bandwidth capacity. Just a few minutes from Sullivan Square ‘s Orange Line rapid transit station and major regional bus terminal, the Inner Belt includes: elite warehouse & distribution centers, key regional marketing and maintenance service companies, MBTA/Amtrak offices, financial services, convenient retail, and Somerville ‘s flagship hotel. The Inner Belt is now in the immediate path of the proposed new Green Line Extension. The Inner Belt BIG has been involved in: public works improvements; investor/developer relations; and zoning issues and planning issues.

Union Square BIG

Union Square is the most genuine international place in New England and next to everything at the lively historic crossroads of Washington Street and Somerville Avenue just about a mile from Harvard, MIT and NorthPoint. Since the mid-90s, the Chamber’s Union Sq BIG has been an advocate for restoring the Square to its former pre-eminence as a business, civic, and cultural center. One catalyst in this resurgence will be the restoration of transit service (the Green Line spur). In the meantime, the BIG has focused on helping to develop the identity, image and promotion of the Square and has tackled issue of zoning, economic development, maintenance & beautification, and traffic and parking, Along the way, the BIG helped win the technical assistance of the renowned international real estate association – the Urban Land Institute. With the administration of Mayor Joseph Curtatone, the BIG welcomed the creation of the Union Square Main Street Program.

Share This...Share on FacebookShare on Google+Tweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedIn