Chairman’s Message / Past Chairman

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Chair
Bill Cramer Chevrolet Cadillac Buick GMC

Hello and Welcome,

It is my privilege to serve as Chairman of the Board of Directors of your Chamber of Commerce for 2019.  As we all work to recover from the devastation wrought by Hurricane Michael, I am encouraged by the spirit of collaboration I’ve witnessed throughout our community.  I believe that by continuing this deliberate and inclusive effort, involving all stakeholders and without regard to local, social or professional boundaries, we have an opportunity to truly Build a Better Bay.

The past year was eventful prior to October 10.  In cooperation with our local legal community, federal delegation, and the governments of Bay County and Panama City, we were able to prevent the Federal Courthouse from closing.  With the Bay Defense Alliance, we began working towards the MQ-9 remotely piloted aircraft (“Reaper”) bed-down at Tyndall Air Force Base, visiting airmen at Holloman Air Force Base to determine what their needs would be as they relocated to our community, and hosting the Director of the Air Force Civil Engineering Center as he visited our base to iron out the logistical challenges of the new mission.  We began a partnership with NextSite, Bay County, and the cities of Panama City, Parker, and Callaway to bring new national retailers to our unused commercial spaces and to help existing businesses better understand their markets and the habits of their customers.

On an internal note, the Chamber also rolled out its new website and remodeled the exterior of our building. Sadly, the building was nearly a total loss but plans are to rebuild as your investment with the organization allowed us to be fully insured. As I am writing this, I am pleased to note that while the storm may have delayed the progress of these projects, none have been cancelled.

None of these accomplishments would have been possible without the efforts of our 2018 Chairman, Doug Moore, and by our President, Carol Roberts, and her staff.  No undertaking has proven too overwhelming for your Chamber team, as the events following Hurricane Michael’s impact remarkably demonstrated.  Doug lived at the Emergency Operations Center for over a month, serving not only as a representative of the county’s businesses but also as a volunteer liaison between the EOC staff and the rest of the world, a role he has transitioned to on a more permanent basis.  Immediately following the storm, the Chamber staff began contacting our local businesses to determine their status and needs, by majority with face to face visits, phone and email. Over one thousand businesses were contacted.  In addition, we held several seminars on assistance opportunities from FEMA, SBA, and the state of Florida, participated in both long-term and short-term recovery discussions, and were even able to hold our annual First Responders Appreciation Luncheon, where we served and delivered over 850 meals to police, fire, and emergency medical personnel.

Without a doubt, 2019 and the years that follow will be trying for all of us as we work on both our personal and collective recovery.  However, like the phoenix of Greek mythology, we will emerge from the piles of debris and blue tarps a new, Better Bay.

Yours in Service,

Will Cramer
Chairman, Bay County Chamber of Commerce

Past Chamber Chairpersons

1913-1923 R.L. McKenzie
1924 Col. Henry Page
1925 W.C. Sherman
1926-1927 Sam Brown
1928-1929 W.F. Look
1930-1931 Will D. Muse
1932-1933 Jesse Cogburn
1934 J.R. Asbell
1935 A.R. Rogers
1936-1937 J.A. Smith
1938 B.S. Gordon
1939 S.A. Daffin, Jr.
1940 Braden Ball
1941 A.M. Lewis, Sr.
1942 B.S. Gordon
1943 George Logue, Sr.
1944 M.G. “Bubber” Nelson
1945 J.R. Asbell
1946 Cecil Kelley
1947 A.N. Smith
1948 Don Fay
1949 W.A. Guy
1950 W.C. Sherman
1951 Harvey Mathis, Sr.
1952 S.A. Daffin, Jr.
1953 Brown Howell
1954 John Christo, Jr.
1955 Isaac Byrd
1956 T.Y. “Tom” Bingham
1957 T.W. Smith, Sr.
1958 John Henry Sherman, Sr.
1959 L.E. Merriam, Jr.
1960 Alton Boyd
1961 Rowe Sudduth
1962 L.D. Lewis, Sr.
1963 Dick Arnold
1964 Hugh Nelson
1965 Woodrow Wilson
1966 D.P. Clark
1967 H.M. Lewis
1968 Jack Blackwell
1969 Frank M. Parker
1970 D.R. Hinton, Jr.
1971-1972 Deck Hull

1973 Girard L. Clemons
1974 Johnny Patronis
1975 C.L. Jinks
1976 Tommy Cooley
1977 Rayford Lloyd
1978 Abbott Browne
1979 Fred Lindholm
1980 Don Crisp
1981 Travis Crosby
1982 Gene Crist
1983 Larry Tyree
1984 Pedro Mandoki
1985 Gary Muller
1986 Scott Fischer
1987 Ted Haney
1988 Charles Jordon
1989-1990 John Robbins
1991 Jim McIntyre
1992 Bob McSpadden
1993 Larry Dantzler
1994 Anne Hull Dick
1995 Vic Jones
1996 Jerry Smithwick
1997 Thomas Neubauer
1998 Raymond Powell
1999 Franklin Harrison
2000 Joe Tannehill, Sr.
2001 Hugh Roche
2002 Karen Hanes
2003 Joey Ginn
2004 Scott Clemons
2005 Elizabeth Walters
2006 Glen McDonald
2007 Steve Southerland
2008 Andy Phillips
2009 Sean McNeil
2010 David Powell
2011 Bo Rivard
2012 Al McCambry
2013 Bill Fenimore
2014 Larry Carroll
2015 Andrew Levy and Michael Sears
2016 Robert Carroll
2017 Claire Sherman
2018 Doug Moore