• Message From The President

  • After 14 years of serving the community, Richard Harder worked his last day as Program Director for Eastman Immigrant Services (EIS) in February. Richard and his wife moved to South America to do very important work there and we thank Richard for his years of caring, the relationships that he built and the legacy that he leaves behind. We wish the very best to Richard and Trudi in their new adventure.

    The new Program Director for EIS is Josie Fast.  Josie has been a settlement worker with the organization for the last three years, so her knowledge of the people and programs allowed her to pick up right where Richard left off. In fact, EIS programs are expanding to include Settlement Workers In Schools (SWIS) and Local Immigration Partnerships (LIPS). Thanks for continuing the standard of excellence, Josie.

    In April, the Chamber hosted our annual Spring Banquet with special guest Kirstine Stewart.  Our regular programming continued with another successful Pioneer Days Parade, Mixer events at Quarry Oaks and Urban Place, and three professional development lunches that focused on Productive Conflict, IT Security, and Public Speaking. If you have not been to one of our events recently, I would encourage you to sign up.  They do tend to fill up quickly, so be sure to keep an eye on the Chamber e-newsletter, The Bottom Line, so you don’t miss out.

    In February, the Chamber partnered with North Forge (an organization that has been operating in Winnipeg for several years and is stretching out across the province) to host a successful Ramp Up Weekend – Steinbach’s first!  Local entrepreneurs gathered to present their ideas, form teams and create a complete business plan in 72 hours.  The participants were judged and the top three groups were awarded prizes. Along with local teams, we were glad to have guests from several other communities in Manitoba competing in this event.

    Entrepreneurship is a big part of economic development and, although economic development has been a regular conversation in our Chamber for several years, this year we have focused our approach and seen significant progress on this key initiative.  The Chamber Executive and myself have met with MP Ted Falk, MLA Kelvin Goertzen, Mayor Chris Goertzen, and several stakeholders from the business community to discuss what economic development looks like for our city and our region. A special thanks to Chamber Vice President Wayne Patram for taking the lead on combining our thoughts and discussions into a comprehensive model that will bring together government and business.

    Economic development is not just something we are talking about here in Steinbach.  This discussion is also happening at the legislature in Winnipeg with our provincial government talking about what an economic development plan could look like for the entire province of Manitoba. We received a request from the provincial task force that is putting this plan together and, in June, the Chamber hosted an Economic Development Roundtable discussion where you, our members, had a chance to answer questions and put your thoughts into notes that were compiled with responses from communities across the province that went through the same process.  All of this data was sent in to the office of the Minister for Growth, Enterprise and Trade, the honourable Blaine Pedersen.  In August, we asked Minister Pederson to come out to Steinbach to talk to our local businesses about what his office is doing about Economic Development in Manitoba. Thank you to all of you who have participated in these important discussions and shared your thoughts at both the Roundtable discussion and at the breakfast event with Minister Pedersen.

    I would like to thank all of my fellow board members who volunteer their time and effort. Thank you to our staff who continue to care for our members needs, and thank you to you, our members, for the difference you make in our community and region. Strong Business – Strong Community.


    Tim Schmitt
    Steinbach Chamber of Commerce