North Columbia Business Association names Veronica Rodriquez president and chair
The North Columbia Business Association announced at a Monday news conference that Veronica Rodriguez had been appointed president and chair of the board of directors.
Established in 2008 by Executive Director Sabrina Odom, the organization seeks to unite all businesses in the North Columbia region in addition to revitalizing the community’s image. As chairman, Rodriguez will be central to accomplishing that goal.
“As the economy rebounds and businesses begin thinking of expansion again, the North Columbia Business Association stands ready to ensure that North Columbia is recognized as a viable and profitable place to do business,” she said. “The executive director, the board and I will be doing all that we can to support growth in our region and polish the ‘diamonds in the rough’ that the North Columbia corridor represents by highlighting the wonderful businesses that exist here and by attracting new and expanding businesses to the area.”
Rodriguez, who previously served as vice chairman, replaces outgoing President Tommy Burkett, who stepped down after his two-year term was up.
Rodriguez said she would look to Burkett for “his wealth of knowledge about North Columbia and the challenges and opportunities before us.”
Burkett told the crowd of business and community leaders that collaboration is key to further the goals of the business association.
“We just want to work with everyone,” he said.
Columbia City Council members Sam Davis and Tameika Isaac Devine also attended the event. Davis said the board made the right decision in choosing Rodriguez.
“She has a very good track record working in the business sector,” he said.
Rodriguez currently serves as president and CEO of Community Service Provider. She has more 20 years of experience in banking and financial management.
During the past 12 years, Rodriguez has grown Community Assistance Provider to serve more people. The nonprofit seeks to link people to affordable housing opportunities by working with the South Carolina Housing Trust Fund, according to a company profile.
Rodriguez graduated from the University of Georgia and also holds a banker’s certificate from the University of South Carolina. She is a certified housing counselor and a nationally certified housing development finance professional.
As a volunteer, Rodriguez has served with the American Red Cross, Junior Achievement, Leadership of Sumter, Mid-Carolina Commission on Higher Education (USC-Sumter), Sistercare and Midlands Housing Trust Fund.
Rodriguez highlighted her commitment to continue developing partnerships with local businesses, schools, neighborhood leaders and community development corporations.
“We’ve got a lot of work ahead of us,” Rodriguez said.
NCBA will continue signature programs like the Buddy and Benjamin Program, farmers markets and Coffee Talk, a monthly social networking event for members and associates to gather to discuss issues regarding business in Columbia.
“It’s a great place to get the facts out on the table,” Rodriguez said.
Rodriguez, along with the other board members, welcomed residents to the South Carolina Cornbread Festival on March 29, 2013. Government Affairs Coordinator Donald Gist said after last year brought more than 10,000 attendees, the board expects this year to bring 20,000.
She also said she wants to continue to build up the business association’s membership, which has about 130 active members at last count. Through a coordinated recruitment drive, including making fees feasible for large and small businesses, NCBA looks to capture owners along North Main Street, Farrow Road and Monticello Road, Rodriguez said.
“People in the neighborhood are interested in the right kind of business in their community,” Rodriguez said. “The owner of a business dictates what type of business it is.”
She said part of building an active membership is reaching out to businesses that enhance the surrounding neighborhoods rather than detract from them.
“We want good business people that are community-minded,” she said.
For more information on getting involved with the North Columbia Business Association, contact Sabrina Odom, NCBA executive director, at (803) 331-2931.