As the year comes to a close, Kentucky Chamber of Commerce Board Chairman Kevin Canafax reflects on his time at the helm of the state’s largest business organization, what the Chamber has accomplished and what he sees yet to come.
Kevin Canafax, vice president of Fidelity Investments’ Midwest Region, was named Chairman of the Board of the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce in October 2015, succeeding Wil James, Jr., president of Toyota Motor Manufacturing of Kentucky.
In an interview with The Bottom Line about his year as chairman, Canafax described his time as chair as a great experience and noted that his tenure in the position came at the same time a new administration was entering the governor’s office, which provided a unique opportunity for he and the Chamber to immediately start a dialogue on important issues.
In reflecting on the past year, Canafax celebrated the victories seen by the business community including passing public-private partnership legislation and the initial progress being made by the business community on crucial policy issues including addressing the state’s pension crisis and workforce needs.
“Our membership has made it very clear to us that these are critical issues that need to be addressed and resolved. And the Chamber has really taken a leadership role in helping to facilitate the conversation, to identify opportunities to address some critical components of not only our state’s solvency and our financial situation, but also making sure that our businesses have the adequate labor pool to draw from,” Canafax said.
Canafax discussed the strength he feels the Kentucky Chamber brings to important policy discussions in the state and how he feels his membership and involvement in the Chamber has brought benefit not only to his business but also to himself.
“It’s not lost on me that the Chamber is only as strong as its membership base and its investors. And we represent such a diverse base of companies and individuals that I am always so impressed with the level and spirit of cooperation, collaboration and commitment to doing the right thing for business and advancing our collective business interests,” Canafax said.
Discussing the importance of businesses being a member of the Kentucky Chamber and engaged in the organization, Canafax said having some of the more significant employers and people who own and operate a business, regardless of its size, immediately garner a great deal of recognition and respect.
“When businesses are engaged, then the stakeholder groups we are talking with, such as legislators and community leaders, recognize that these are truly important issues of our membership and not just something that a few people have dreamt up in a back room.
“We take a lot of pride and we put in a lot of time and effort to survey our membership, find out what is impeding their business progress, identifying opportunities and ways to remove some of those barriers. But also to provide them a product, services, networking relationships that can enhance their bottom line,” Canafax said.