Rachel LeBel of Geiger, left, speaks at the Lewiston Auburn Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce breakfast Thursday in Lewiston. With her are Geiger employee Laura Bosse, center, and Lewiston Auburn Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce President Shanna Cox. Kathryn Skelton/Sun Journal Buy this Photo

Get your nominating pens ready, consider working from home and welcome a new board president — it’s an all-chamber Buzz.

Laura Bosse and Rachel LeBel made the case for growing the remote workforce at Geiger at the Lewiston Auburn Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce breakfast at the Ramada Hotel and Conference Center by Wyndham Lewiston on Thursday.

Bosse, the company’s vice president of human resources, and LeBel, vice president of Total Care Sales Services, said Geiger’s first employee started working from home in 2007.

It’s now up to 100 remote workers across the country.

“Our goal for the time was cost control, recruitment, being able to have people work all over the United States and improve service,” Bosse said. “At the time, we were also beginning to wrestle with some space issues, so we had to look at where we could have people work that was not in our office.”

She said it’s important to prepare details like expectations, hours, performance measures, the need for any accommodations and what happens in case of emergencies in advance.

Some Geiger employees have opted for nontraditional hours and some have tried it, decided it wasn’t for them and come back in-house.

LeBel said it’s allowed the company to explore a broader talent pool.

“Really, the best benefit to the company is the benefit to the employee: The morale is higher, the productivity is higher, they are more focused,” she said. “It’s really been a great thing for them.”

Leadership spots

Last month, new Chamber President Shanna Cox rolled out a new tiered membership program based on business size and just how involved they wanted to be, with chamber dues ranging from $100 to $3,500.

That top tier, “regional leaders” who will get an annual audience with the chamber board and quarterly roundtable discussions, is capped at 20 members. It has 14 already.

She encouraged businesses to commit by Jan. 20 to get the most out of the year’s offerings.

Adieu

Nicole Lajoie of Champoux Insurance is the new president of the chamber’s board of directors.

Cox thanked outgoing board President Jennifer Hogan for her two years of service — the position only typically lasts a year, Cox said, but Hogan agreed to stay longer because of the change of leadership as Beckie Conrad left and Cox was hired.

And hello, again

The 40 Under 40 awards are coming back.

Uplift LA President Matthew Shaw said the nomination process will open in the next month, with the recognition event being held in the summer. More details are to come.

The annual event kicked off in 2016 celebrating the area’s influential creative geniuses, volunteers, the civic-minded, entrepreneurs, educators and others. After three years, it took 2019 off.

Shaw said that in the meantime, Uplift LA is looking for volunteers to serve on its committees.

Uplift LA and the chamber will host the next newcomer’s mixer night at The Pub at Baxter on Feb. 11.


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