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Higgs looks to continue growth as Chamber president
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Advertising manager of the Manteca Bulletin, Chuck Higgs, promised to continue the growth and further expansion of the Manteca Chamber of Commerce as its new president at the benefit of business and professionals during the year to come at the installation dinner.

Higgs took over the chamber reins of the 300-member business organization from hospital CEO Nicolas Tejeda at the Manteca Transit Center on Moffat Boulevard.  He named his theme for the year as “Focus on the Future.”

Higgs told his audience that he has long had a close relationship with the businesses he has served in the advertising communities. 

“While the challenges and opportunities vary, there are core needs and beliefs that we all share and strive to maintain to grow successful businesses,” he said.  “The chamber must be equipped to serve all those businesses.”

Higgs noted that the chamber has worked hard during the last year to promote and to protect business.  One example was the drive by Executive Director Joann Beattie and Lucille Harris, working with local officials, to put a stop to what one individual (attorney) was trying to do in shaking down area businesses.

He said the community is “blessed” to have business people like Harris in the chamber and in the business community.  The ADA situation had so many Manteca businesses “on the ropes” over handicapped entrance questions, Higgs added.

“In my career I have had the privilege of working with all kinds and sizes of business being in newspaper advertising for many years. I have enjoyed working with the Manteca area -businesses.  If it wasn’t for you,  I wouldn’t have a job,” he quipped.

He added that as a chamber,  everyone must focus on the business opportunities that will help the chamber and local businesses grow.  The Farmers’ Market is a good example with a musical background, he continued.

“If you haven’t been there, go to it.  It’s a great Tuesday night event.  Joann and her crew have done a great job in putting it all together,” he said adding that his Tuesday night dinners come from the Lockeford Sausage booth.

“The chamber must learn, grow and look to the future to stay relevant  to the future landscape of business.  I don’t know about you, but in my business in the last four to five years, it doesn’t look the same — it has changed so much.  And, I know it’s true for a lot of you,” he stressed

“That’s where the chamber can help you out.  We need to seek out and implement new business strategies to insure growth and stability.  We need to be so successful that businesses seek out Manteca as a great place to establish a business,” Higgs said.

The new 2015-2016 chamber president added that it is his board’ responsibility to set goals in place that will make the future bright.

“You are our customers,” he said. “You are why we exist.”

In addition to Higgs, Debbie Baglietto of Oak Valley Community Bank, was selected as first vice president. David Schene  of American Chevrolet, was sworn in as second vice president.

Board members named  were Jeff Zellner, secretary; Leo DeGroot, treasurer; Marvin Brocchini, Brocchini family Partnership; Patrick O’Rourke, Bank of Stockton; Suzanne Candini, Manzanita Ventures; Dorine Vincente Julius, Holliday Inn Lathrop; Nick Obligacion, Manteca Chief of Police; Shawn Nussbaumer, J&J Printing and Laurin Sephos, Raymus Homes.

Mayor Steve DeBrum served as master of ceremonies.