Our Town Sun City Center:
By Mitch Traphagen (email@example.com)
SUN CITY CENTER - New developments in Ruskin, Apollo Beach and Riverview may make the news but Tampa Bay area businesses know where the heart of south county business lies - it is in Sun City Center.
The Sun City Center Chamber of Commerce is the largest of the individual Southshore chambers. The management and board of directors stay busy making sure their chamber is always at the forefront.
Elaine Brad is the executive director of the chamber. Holding a Masterís degree in finance in one hand and a pilotís license in the other, Brad made her way to Florida, joined the Sun City Center chamber and, as the story goes, wound up running the place.
"It was just a progression," said Brad. "There were a lot of people who wanted this job. It has been wonderful."
A licensed pilot, Brad flew acrobatics before the demands of her job took her away from flying. Today her acrobatics are of a different nature but, in a sense, are not less complex. As anyone involved in a chamber of commerce can tell you, the job is difficult and the schedule is hectic. Brad is expected to appear at virtually every community event. As most people know, Sun City Center has a lot of events.
Additionally, she schedules in various boards and other organizations - everything from the Girl Scouts to the Southshore Roundtable.
The president of the chamberís board of directors is Jerry Milton. Many community residents know him from his tenure as president of the Community Association.
For Milton, retirement is simply not an option. The chamber named him as a lifetime board member and he was ultimately elected as the president of the board.
His sincere and friendly style seem to win over everyone that comes his way.
"Itís fun," said Milton. "Talking to the wonderful people that come in here, all kinds of people come in here with all kinds of questions. Where else do you have a free security patrol, a free sheriffís deputy on site, a free emergency squad, so many amenities that it is unbelievable. When we tell people who call for information that the assocation fees are $180, they often expect that to be per month. They are surpised when we tell them that no, itís per year!"
Neither Brad nor Milton are hanging on in dead end jobs. Neither of them have to work at the chamber. They both choose to work at the chamber. Along with the other staff members, they are dedicated and clearly love their jobs, they clearly love the community they work so hard to promote.
"The mission of this chamber is to create an atmosphere in the community in which the residents and businesses can prosper," said Milton.
And that, apparently, is the secret to their success. Brad and Milton are not only dedicated to the members of the chamber, they are dedicated to the community. For both of them, that dedication is not just a line on their job description, that is how they view their jobs.
Mitch Traphagen Photo
© Copyright 2003, M&M Printing, Inc. and the Observer News and Riverview Current. All rights reserved.