At meetings held separately of the Boards of Directors of the Bristol County Chamber and the SouthCoast Chamber, on December 19 and December 20 respectively, the Boards of both organizations agreed to establish a task force to explore and provide due diligence on the integration of the two organizations.


The task force, with appointed members from the Boards of each chamber, will spend six months reviewing opportunities for integration. Among stated goals of the task force are to maintain the identity and preserve the jobs of the current employees of each organization while providing members the resources and expertise of one organization that seeks to unite the South Coast region through effective advocacy, strong support for economic growth and workforce preparation, enhanced member value and ultimately efficiencies that derive from scale.


Brian LeComte, Chair of the Board of the Bristol County Chamber and a senior executive at Gold Medal Bakery, said, “Each Chamber brings definable and complementary strengths to the table. The goals of the exploration are to see how those strengths can potentially lead to a structure that provides the best possible service to all members, especially the small members that make up the vast majority of each chamber.” LeComte added, “There is no predetermined outcome to this examination by the task force. We are searching for the best possible outcomes and impacts for our members by executing the due diligence required.”


The task force will be reviewing financial information, member benefits, major and smaller events, governance and efficient use of existing staff. The goal is that the task force analysis will be complete by June 15, 2019 after which a single recommendation will come forward from the task force to each Board for consideration.


Kim Perry, Chair of the SouthCoast Chamber and a senior executive with Waring-Sullivan and Rock Funeral Homes, said, “This task force is perfectly timed. Both organizations are financially strong and have effective and committed volunteer and paid leadership. There has never been a better time to approach this discussion. At the end of the day, any decision is about what is best for the members of the Bristol County Chamber and the SouthCoast Chamber.”


The task force will be co-chaired by Mike O’Sullivan and Rick Kidder, CEOs of the two chambers and will include the following members – Rose Lopes of the Sylvia Group, Doug Glassman of ServPro (New Bedford and Fall River), Ron Ellis of Edward Jones, Doug Rodrigues of JMR Accounting, Catherine Dillon of BankFive, Carl Sawejko of Sawejko Communications and Bill Perkins of People Incorporated.