John Wright


Last week, I was genuinely shocked by a letter to the editor from Judi Harris. Her calling me a “gem” has, of course, started a new round of name-calling in and around my household.

Although totally unexpected and unnecessary, it was a very nice surprise to read her comments. I truly appreciate the time she took to deliver her message.

Much of what she said though reflects on our entire team of both staff and directors. Together, we have created a cohesive unit that works on a daily basis for the betterment of our members and the business community at large.

Events, such as the Pirates in Paradise event, were the brainchild of our Resource Development Team, most of whom were also in attendance, doing what they do best — volunteering. The Pirates event had many moving parts and their assistance in playing their role was paramount.

I do want also to extend a very grateful “Thank You” to the management and staff at Four Points by Sheraton Punta Gorda Harborside for making the event run so very smoothly. They were on hand to assist at every corner and their professionalism did not go unnoticed.

As with each event we do, the team is already planning the next one, ironing out any kinks to make subsequent events run even better. There is also a very important group that works for the PG Chamber — namely our board of directors. Dealing with the pandemic and the sudden impact of recovery from it has resulted in their need to spend even more time handling their own businesses — but they have never forgotten their loyalty to the chamber’s program of work and have always found time to share knowledge, support and resource with us.

The role of the PG Chamber has evolved over the years, as our community has also. We sit and discuss issues of importance to our area with many groups, advocating for a better and brighter business environment for all to thrive in. Whether it is our proximity to members of City Council or to our state and federally elected officials, our board of directors takes their time to represent you all. By way of example, we recently were engaged in Florida Department of Transportation discussions regarding traffic issues on U.S. 41 throughout our area. Being part of discussions like this offers us the opportunity to share our expertise and knowledge as part of the overall process for improving our incredible city.

You should all know — our visitors and future residents LOVE our city and they do not hold back when they visit our office to obtain information. We hear so many of them saying, “This is exactly what we were looking for. We can’t wait to be part of this community.” This makes what we do such a pleasure. The fact that we are completely sold on what we are selling makes our job so much easier too.

Community is just like family. Each family is made up of a diverse mix of participants, each with their own flavor. The joy of this area is just the same — a melting pot of people from all over the country and the world, each bringing a new flavor to town. I am just happy and humbled to have the opportunity to be the convenor who gets the opportunity to meet and represent this incredible area.

We all witnessed the outpouring of community at last week’s ribbon-cutting ceremony for the Green Thumbs volunteers and TEAM/PG Chamber members in celebration of a wonderful initiative to bring our downtown streets into bloom. Next time you visit Taylor and see the floral displays, give a thumbs-up to the community that delivered them for us all to enjoy.

John R. Wright is president of the Punta Gorda Chamber of Commerce


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