Column - chamber President Pete Bardunias

Chamber President and CEO Pete Bardunias

In mid-October, members of the Chamber of Southern Saratoga County (CSSC) voted overwhelmingly in favor of affiliation with the Capital Region Chamber (CRC) effective Jan. 1. 

Nearly simultaneously, the Malta Business and Professional Association voted to integrate with the Chamber of Southern Saratoga County, also effective Jan. 1. This means that, in less than two months, both local organizations will become part of a regional enterprise boasting 2,900 members. The combined chamber will have three offices (Clifton Park, Colonie and Schenectady) and 24 full time employees in addition to the Exit 9 Rest Area info center staff.

A lot of questions have been asked as to how this move will impact the business community, along with the CSSC’s hallmark community development efforts.  I will be remaining in the Clifton Park office, with the title of Senior Vice President, Community Advancement. Each staff member will perform their functions with a regional mindset, so any one of the 24 chamber employees may serve a business anywhere in the region whenever circumstances warrant. 

This is big news to those who have been faithful to the CSSC during its 52 years. We have always operated on tight budgets, with a small staff constantly stretching to serve the needs of everyone who put their confidence in us.   Now it will be far different, and in a very good way.

An example of this organizational strength and depth was recently demonstrated on a very busy day, when two separate ribbon cuttings took place (in Malta and Clifton Park), the CSSC’s annual Women in Business luncheon was held at the Hilton Garden Inn in Clifton Park, and an important meeting with the NY State Canal Corporation took place at our Clifton Park offices.

Later that same day we covered two separate evening engagements, the Cornell Cooperative Extension Annual Dinner in Ballston Spa, for which I was the keynote speaker, and a Malta Candidates’ Night program in conjunction with the League of Women Voters where outgoing Malta BPA President and incoming CSSC board member Michael York gave an address at the start of the program. 

Ten combined chamber employees were present on Saratoga County soil that day, far more than the CSSC ever mustered in its history; at the same time the CRC also held an important meeting of its Unified Military Affairs Council at STS Steel in Schenectady, and conducted some important training sessions for some of its staff members.

This was an amazing demonstration of the new, unified Capital Region Chamber!  And we’re just at the beginning.

For more information on the affiliation of the CSSC and Capital Region Chamber, please visit www.southernsaratoga.org .

-Pete Bardunias, President/CEO, the Chamber of Southern Saratoga County

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