In a night of welcoming and celebration, the Manatee Chamber of Commerce passed the gavel to its newest chairman, Kevin DiLallo, at the chamber’s 54th annual dinner Thursday.
Through the jokes and good-natured humor of the night, some formal business was conducted.
Outgoing Chairwoman Trudy Moon of Air & Energy passed the gavel to DiLallo, chief executive officer of Manatee Memorial Hospital, who Thursday night took over as the organization’s leader.
“It’s very humbling, and it’s a great honor to be elected as the chairman of Manatee Chamber of Commerce. There’s a lot of work to be done, but I’m really excited about the things that are happening in our community, and I can’t wait to get involved with everything happening in the Florida government,” DiLallo said.
Following introductions and a few recognitions, DiLallo, Moon and 2015’s chairman, attorney Jonathan Fleece of Blalock Walters, reflected on the chamber’s past year and discussed what’s to come. Panelists even laughed over tweets from fellow chamber members. Moon laughed about her strict “no phones allowed for one hour in meetings” rule.
During the panel discussion, DiLallo noted his goal during the 2017 year is continued advocacy work for businesses. The chamber, he said, will head to Tallahassee in the coming weeks to represent local businesses. One topic specifically mentioned was eliminating the business rent tax in the state.
He also hopes to continue focus on transportation and attainable housing and redevelopment. DiLallo said the chamber will step up efforts on workforce development and opportunities in skilled trades.
One way they hope to continue the effort is by expanding the chamber’s job shadow program to high school students and offering shadow opportunities in skilled trades.
DiLallo first came to Manatee County in 2010, but he has been with the hospital’s parent company, Universal Health Services, for 20 years.
“While my time as chairman will be short, I think that what we accomplish in 2017 will one day be looked up as a launching pad for the Manatee Chamber of Commerce of the future,” DiLallo said.
Moon will stay on the executive committee as the immediate past chairwoman. She thanked the board, the chamber staff and her family for the support she received in her role over the last year.
Moon noted that Manatee Young Professionals grew by 100 members in the last year, reaching a record number of 500 members. Her son, Stewart Moon Jr., chairs the effort.
At the dinner, the chamber also recognized retiring members of the board of directors and awarded Chuck Slater of the Manatee Community Foundation, Mac Carraway of Carraway Consulting and John Horne of Anna Maria Oyster Bar with the Chairman’s Award.