The Red Deer and District Chamber of Commerce began their annual annual general meeting with a speech from their new CEO Robin Bobocel.
Bobocel began by outlining his history of business advocating, legislative lobbying and chamber representation—which he said all began when he began working for his family’s logging business. Bobocel’s family would move into the oil and gas industry before he decided to venture into government.
His choice to move to government came from a passion for politics and the yearning to be a lobbyist.
After becoming a lobbyist, his journey would take him to the Edmonton Chamber of Commerce, where he learned about the important role of advocating for local business through the Chamber.
Bobocel comes to Red Deer after a stint in concrete. He is excited to represent the Red Deer Chamber.
“I am here because I missed the Chamber world,” he said to the 70 to 80 people who attended the Chamber-hosted event. “When business is strong—so goes the community”
Bobocel said the Chamber, under his leadership, will not get involved with politics, however, it will advocate and develop policy that supports the business community.
He believes that through the many leaders that call themselves Chamber members—Red Deer business will thrive.
“I believe real leaders are leaders of business,” he said
Leadership is needed, according to Bobocel, because of non business friendly policies that are hurting Red Deer like the carbon tax, federal small business tax changes and raises to the minimum wage.
“There is a feeling that business doesn’t have a seat at the table,” he said.
Volunteerism, Bobocel explained, will be an important part of his tenure as CEO.
“You will start to see Chamber staff involved with philanthropic events,” he said.
This is part of his overall goal to have the Chamber more involved with the community. He used the example of Central Alberta crime as an out-of-the-box way that business leaders can positively affect their community.
“The Red Deer Chamber will offer solutions on how this will be dealt with,” he said, adding the Chamber has already begun engaging the Downtown Business Association( DBA) on how everyone can be involved to create a thriving downtown business community.
Partnerships, like the DBA, will factor in greatly to the Chamber’s mission going forward and Bobocel looks forward to partnering with Red Deer College, the City of Red Deer, Red Deer County and the Central Alberta Economic Partnership to name a few.
Bobocel intends to challenge the status quo of the Chamber.
“You will see us challenging norms,” he said. “We will always be respectful and thorough in our approach to advance the business community.”
He added, “I look forward to working with you to make Red Deer and Central Alberta great again.”