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Chamber Installs New Officers

How to do business with the Army featured at Installation Night.

The success of a civilian organization or a military unit is determined by two essentials: team effort and resources. Members of the Mount Vernon-Lee Chamber of Commerce were reminded of this truism during their annual Installation Night Dinner Thursday, Feb. 22 at the Mount Vernon Country Club.

"It's our committees that made it happen and make it happen," said Board Chairman Kahan Singh Dhillon Jr., opening the evening as the Chamber installed its new Board members and paid special recognition to committees and their chairs.

Attendees were also invited to become partners with the U.S. Army, using their business expertise and products to mutually benefit themselves and the goals of the Federal Government by Kathryn Condon, executive deputy to the Commanding General, Army Materiel Command (AMC) presently based at Fort Belvoir.

"We work with businesses of all sizes on everything from research and technology to weaponry. We are a $50 billion industry employing 1,500 military personnel and 52,000 civilians. We are primarily a civilian command and we are everywhere," she said. "We are the industry part of the Army. You do not have to be a mega corporation to do business with us. The 50-caliber sniper rifle was designed and manufactured by a small firm in Tennessee."

As the featured speaker of the evening, Condon was substituting for boss Gen. Benjamin Griffin who was on a mission in Iraq. The meeting night, originally scheduled for Feb. 15, was changed due to the previous week's snow and ice storm.

"Our number one mission is to support the war fighter. One of the ways we do that is through our partnerships with small businesses," she said. "This year's small business program accounted for $6.75 billion. If a soldier shoots it, drives it, flies it, communicates with it, wears it, or eats it, AMC has a huge hand in it."

In addition to her verbal presentation, Condon showed films explaining the concept of partnering between private industry and AMC. She also distributed information on "How To Do Business With The AMC."

PRIOR TO Condon's address, incoming Chamber President Nathaniel E. Wilson, who served as the evening's Master of Ceremonies, told the group, "My goal is to build on what has taken place this past year. We added 103 new members. We also need to give our full support to all the people doing the work of the Chamber."

Citing the need to not only build on past success but also to initiate new endeavors, Wilson said, "We should come together and recognize the needs of our community. We have to think about what we can do that is new and better." Wilson noted that the Chamber has given more than $40,000 in academic scholarships of $1,500 each to deserving students.

In addition to recognizing each of the committee chairs and those Board members completing their three terms of office, Dhillon presented the Chairman's Choice Award to Walter C. Clarke of Potomac Home Funding and Linda Martin of Virginia Commerce Bank, for their work as co-chairs of the 2006 Membership Committee.

Officers installed for 2007 were: Dhillon, chair; Wilson, president; Clarke, vice president; Gale Curcio, UMC Community Solutions, secretary; and David Rainey, Weichert Realtors, treasurer. Upon completion of their term, each year's president moves up to Chairman of the Board.