It’s been a great honor serving as chairman of the board for the Bossier Chamber of Commerce for the past two years. Coming into my first term in 2020, I could never have anticipated the challenges our business and Chamber community would face, effectively becoming the “Chamber of No Commerce” in the first few months of lockdowns, restrictions and focus on protecting the health and safety of our citizenry.
But in that time, our businesses and Chamber rose to the challenge, and the Bossier Chamber has grown stronger, thanks to the resiliency of our members, our eminently talented board of directors and our extremely dedicated staff.
In the past two years, I am most proud of the strengthening of our collaboration with our sister Chambers across the river – the Greater Shreveport Chamber and Shreveport-Bossier African-American Chamber. In 2020, we teamed up to conduct virtual seminars during the onset of the pandemic, particularly during the PPP loan phase for businesses. Now in 2021 we have continued that collaboration, instituting quarterly Joint Chamber Board Meetings, where we have identified key issues the three boards can tackle together to help move the Shreveport-Bossier community forward as a whole. What’s good for Bossier is good for Shreveport and vice versa. These Joint Chamber Board meetings are one step forward in creating a cohesive message that Northwest Louisiana is open for business.
Another favorite initiative that we have begun in 2021 at the Bossier Chamber is the Military Community Champion program. This program is in its infancy stages now but I know it will have a great impact in welcoming and retaining our military members. As General Manager of Margaritaville and Boomtown, our business has made a great commitment to not only honor and serve our military members, but also to make every effort to hire members of the military and their dependents. I’m grateful to work for a company – Penn National Gaming – that puts an emphasis on supporting our military. That’s also what the Military Community Champion program is all about – recognizing our businesses within the community that have made a commitment to support our military and their families, through charitable contributions, activities geared toward the military community and, most importantly, military friendly hiring practices.
As I finish my chairmanship, I’m glad to note my time on the Bossier Chamber Board of Directors is not done, and I hope to continue to be a part of growing these two initiatives to make Bossier and Shreveport a great place for people to live, work, play and learn.
This is truly a tremendous community and I, and the Bossier Chamber, are glad to have your support.
Barry Regula, Margaritaville Resort Casino general manager, and outgoing chair of the Bossier Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors