Members of Tacoma-Pierce County Chamber and guests gathered today for the 132nd annual meeting of what is now the second largest chamber of commerce in the state. 

With its central purpose to be “The Voice for Business” in Tacoma and the rest of the county, outgoing chair Joanna Monroe, vice president at TrueBlue, spoke of the optimism she felt in her year at the helm. She also acknowledged some incidents that seemed to put the business group at odds with some residents, like its advocacy for a proposed industrial plant on the Tideflats.

“If we are truly going to achieve the potential of our area, we have got to find a common ground,” Monroe said. Noting the “splintering of voices” caused by “a difference of opinion” on the proposed methanol plan, she suggested a new approach for the area’s largest business advocacy group. 

“We (ought to) be the sane center that will bring many points of view together,” Monroe said, with the goal of continuing to form the best community for all residents.

Josh Dunn, CEO of Premier Media Group and incoming chair of the chamber, spoke of the future.

“We can no longer be our father’s chamber. We are a Tesla, not a Buick,” Dunn quipped, in outlining a changing of the guard that will seek to engage “the next generation of leaders — millennials” — in local business advocacy.

“Our new strategic plan will drive our vision of 'Making the South Sound the best place to do business in Washington state,' ” Dunn told the crowd. “Our Chamber is ready to rock!”

Tacoma Pierce County Chamber now has 1,700 members, according to remarks from its CEO Tom Pierson.