New Bellwood Chamber Director Wants To Bring Silicon Valley To Proviso

Saturday, November 10, 2018 || By Michael Romain || @maywoodnews 

Featured image: Robert Truman addresses the Bellwood chamber on Nov. 9 in Hillside. | Shanel Romain 

During a Bellwood Chamber of Commerce membership and awards meeting held Nov. 9 at the Holiday Inn Conference Center, 200 S. Mannheim Rd. in Hillside, the chamber’s new executive director said that he wants to bring aspects of Silicon Valley to Proviso Township.

Robert Truman, who was hired last month as the first executive director in the chamber’s 60-year history, announced that he’s helping to launch a free program that will teach business owners and community members how to code.

The program is called Proviso Codes — Coding for Life, Truman said, and it’s the result of a collaboration between the Bellwood Chamber and the community organization Best of Proviso Township.

The Proviso East graduate and owner of InfoMaple — a data analysis and visualization firm — said that around 40 people, ages 10 to 65, have already registered for the free program. Truman said that training locations will be announced next week.

Truman said that once trained, community members will be partnered with local businesses that have technological needs.

The chamber will also work with outside companies to provide area businesses with direct technological assistance, Truman said.

Robert Truman_Bellwood Chamber

Truman said that the Chamber and Best of Proviso will unveil the locations for a free new coding program next week. | Shanel Romain 

“We’ll work with companies like Google and Microsoft to train some businesses in technology to help them improve their operations,” he said.

Truman said that in addition to helping community members and businesses increase their technological capacity, he also plans on helping chamber members understand the state’s procurement process — something that is key to minority-owned businesses landing lucrative government contracts.

“I have experience with the Illinois Black Chamber of Commerce and I understand the procurement process,” Truman said. “We want to get local businesses certified as minority- and woman-owned companies so that they can tap into opportunities that exist locally and at the state level.”

Truman said that he’s worked as a business analyst in corporate America for 15 years for “companies like Kraft Foods, Walgreens and McDonald’s.” He said that “working for those companies paid the bills,” but the work didn’t bring him any gratification, which is why he started his own business about three years ago.

“I feel that I’m overqualified to help businesses understand what their needs are and to take them to the next level,” he said.

Truman’s hire is part of the Bellwood Chamber’s mission to become Proviso Township’s premier business organization, said Christopher Parker, the chamber’s board president and a vice president with Wintrust Financial Corporation.

“We had to get somebody with strong leadership and a strong business acumen to lead us in our golden years,” said Parker. “We’re looking to represent the entire Proviso Township.”

Anyone interested in registering for Proviso Codes can click here VFP 

Chamber honors retired board members

During the Nov. 9 meeting in Hillside, the Bellwood Chamber of Commerce honored five retired board members (pictured top to bottom): Jacqueline Walton, the owner of Ted’s Place; Cory L. Foster, the external affairs manager for ComEd; Ted Steiskal, of the Memorial Park District; and Demetrious  and Lillian Paschal of Family Affair Entertainment and LegalShield.

Out and About_Chamber awards_Lady

Out and About_Chamber awards_Cory Foster

Out and About_Chamber awards_Tom

Out and About_Chamber awards_Couple

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