After a year of transition, the Tri-Village Chamber Partnership is ready to hit the ground running in 2017.

After a year of transition, the Tri-Village Chamber Partnership is ready to hit the ground running in 2017.

Created earlier this year when the Grandview and Upper Arlington chambers of commerce merged, the partnership will head into 2017 with new officers and a new program on the horizon.

Laura Oldham, owner and founder of Starburst Media, was elected as president of the chamber board of directors Dec. 20 during the chamber's monthly luncheon.

Other 2017 officers include Vice President Dan Bartholomew, who had been serving as secretary, and Curtis Onofri, who continues as treasurer.

A new secretary is expected to be named at the January meeting, said Executive Director Michelle Wilson.

Jamie Gentry and Kevin Fix, who served as co-chairmen in 2016, will serve as immediate past presidents.

"It's been a lot of hard work to merge two different chambers like this, but it's made for a stronger organization," Oldham said. "Now we can build upon and expand the foundation we've established."

The merger of the Grandview area and Upper Arlington chambers officially began in February.

"This first year has been a transition year," Wilson said. "The merger has allowed us to look at things from a whole new perspective as if we were a new business starting out.

"We're still a chamber of commerce with a mission of promoting our member businesses and connecting them to the resources they need to succeed," Wilson said.

In its first year, the chamber expanded the member ambassador program that both the Grandview and UA chambers had in place, she said.

The ambassadors have reached out to area businesses to provide information about the new partnership and the benefits of the merged chamber for members, Wilson said.

The chamber is partnering with North American Broadcasting Co. to produce Business Matters, a new monthly business podcast, she said.

"We will talk local business issues and tell the story of a featured local business each month," Wilson said.

The podcast will offer a new way of spotlighting member businesses and also will help reach a younger demographic that may not be aware of the chamber, she said.

Some of a few chambers take full advantage of the social, digital, print and broadcast media outlets available, said Brett Johnson, local sales manager at North American's WMNI radio station.

"In today's market, you need to have that buy-in to recognize the benefits all of those platforms can provide," he said.

In addition to helping produce the podcast, North American will post Business Matters on its station website and promote the podcast on the radio stations themselves, which include WMNI and 103.9 Jack FM, Johnson said.

Johnson's Circle270Media Podcast Network also will help promote the chamber podcast.

The target is to produce the first podcast in February, Wilson said.

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