Members of the San Angelo Chamber of Commerce:

Recent narratives in the media remind me of my many years living abroad and how grateful I am to be living in the United States. During my international career I was fortunate to have the unique experience of living in nine different countries and of doing business in nearly ninety.  This exposure to a very wide variety of countries, governmental systems and cultures has given me an appreciation of the world that only full immersion and permanent residency can afford.   These varied experiences have also taught me an important and very valuable lesson – I am grateful every day to be a citizen of the United States.

The freedoms we enjoy are very rare in the world. The economic opportunities that every American has are unique. We can question and protest our government. We can speak freely.  We can worship how, when and where we desire, or to choose not to worship at all. We have the right to bear arms and to protect our families. Through hard work, every American can find success. Outside the United States, I have never experienced a nation or a culture that continually strives to take measures to address issues of injustice or inequality to the degree we do. I have never lived in a country nor been exposed to a culture that is more self-critical, or more desirous of positive progress and change than we are. Remaking ourselves to improve and to address past issues is a uniquely American attribute.

For these reasons and many others, the United States is the place where many people from around the world aspire to live, to work in and to be a part of. Very few ever renounce their United States citizenship, but millions of people choose to migrate to the United States for freedom and opportunity every year. My own wife is among them and, as a proud green card holder, is working hard to become a citizen of the United States.

Lately, as a nation we have been challenged, and I have heard that some are beginning to feel tentative about our principles, our history, and our place in the world. I can only tell you from the standpoint of someone who spent decades looking at our nation from the outside, the freedoms we enjoy and the opportunities we are afforded are the envy of the world. I would never trade my passport for another. I am confident that we will work through this time of challenge and turmoil as we have many times before in our history and, that we will be a stronger nation and people for having worked through our issues together.

Regarding Chamber activities, the Chamber’s African American Business Coalition is proud to host their inaugural Business Basics Workshop this Friday, June 26 from 5:30 pm to 7 pm via Zoom. The workshop will address topics of interest, including lessons on the Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) program. There will be many distinguished presenters including Kelvin Solco, PE, MBA, a recognized expert in the development of minority owned businesses. While the program focuses on minority owned businesses, all are welcome! Please RSVP at sanangelo.org/diversity.

We are continuing our very popular weekly webinar series and the next installment will be on Friday, June 26 at 11 am. The topic will be Anti-Fraud and Embezzlement in a COVID-19 Environment, and will feature Gayla Thornton, CPA and partner at Armstrong, Backus & Co., LLP. You can register here to take advantage of this free educational opportunity!

Finally, we are continuing to work to restore and revise our schedule of regular face-to-face events with the evolving and emerging standards and regulations. We will keep you all in the loop as to the latest developments. We also ask you to check out our website, www.sanangelo.org, frequently for new information. I have included my email and personal cell phone number below. Please feel free to contact me at any time.

In the meantime, stay safe and keep well…We deeply appreciate you all.

Walt Koenig
President and CEO
San Angelo Chamber of Commerce
walt@sanangelo.org
Personal Cell:  (321) 474-1332