BY GREG DUROCHER, COMMUNITY EDITORIAL BOARD
A typical day in the life of Scott Lyons, the president of the Brantford Chamber of Commerce and president of Extend Communications in Brantford, might be like this: Scott arrives at his Charlotte Street office at 8 a.m., settles in and calls over to the chamber office to confirm his meeting at 10 a.m.
At 10 a.m. Scott arrives at the Brantford chamber office for a meeting with Finance Minister John Manley to discuss business issues related to the federal budget, and puts forward chamber members’ concerns for the upcoming year.
After his hour-long meeting with the minister, Scott heads back to his office to tend to some daily work in the world of operating an “in-bound” call centre, and communications service provider. At 1:30 p.m., Scott heads out of his office again, and makes his way to City Hall, and a meeting with senior city management, and Mayor Chris Friel. Scott makes his way home to his wife and two kids at 6 p.m. after tending to the family business and community business in his role as Brantford chamber president.
Thirty-five kilometres north of Brantford, in his Water Street office is Todd Lyons, Cambridge Chamber of Commerce president and vice-president of Extend Communications in Cambridge.
He arrives at work between 8 a.m. and 8:15, pulls off his e-mail messages, and phone messages and responds to those who would be available at that time. Then he calls the Cambridge Chamber of Commerce, to confirm his meeting at 11 a.m. with Mayor Doug Craig and CAO Don Smith.
Just before he leaves the office he gets a call from the Cambridge Chamber of Commerce general manager (yours truly) who also suggests he remain at the Gateway after the meeting with the mayor, to meet and speak with Jane Stewart, the minister of human resources development Canada, and funny enough member of Parliament for Brantford.
Todd arrives at the Gateway (Cambridge Chamber of Commerce new building at Highway 401 and Hespeler Road) just before 11 a.m. The meeting covers such items as tourism operations, and taxation issues. Later Minister Stewart addresses issues around Human Resources funding programs. After heading back to his Water Street office, Todd makes his way home to wife Darlene at around 6 p.m., after tending to the family business and community business in his role as Cambridge chamber president.
Two very similar stories, two very committed and similar individuals. Maybe that is because they are also brothers.
Scott and Todd Lyons own and operate, in partnership, Extend Communications with offices in both Cambridge and Brantford. Both in their mid-30s, Scott with a young family, and Todd, a soon to be first-time father. And the most amazing part about this, is that they are both presidents of different chambers of commerce at the exact same time. An anomaly of sorts. In fact my investigations have found no other situation of this nature to ever happen in Canadian chamber history.
Scott is just finishing his term as chamber president in Brantford, next month, and his brother Todd is on a two-year term cycle that will have him lead the Cambridge chamber until June 2004. In a conversation I had recently with Scott, he feels very good about his work over the past year with the Brantford chamber, and he made it a point to develop good working relationships with all levels of government, but admittedly works harder on the relationships with the municipal level. The Brantford chamber struck some serious success in lobbying the city to do needs and service audits for all city departments. The chamber finally convinced them to tackle one department this past year, and much to the politicians’ and administration’s surprise it was a real benefit. He also led the chamber in the fight to get the Brantford airport reinstated as well, which is a real feather in the cap of the chamber.
However, Scott notes, that the effort to bringing to life the new image and brand for the Brantford chamber was a slower process.
“If there was anything that I wish I had seen the end of in my term, is the new image and new logo for the Brantford chamber completed,” Scott said.
Scott is proud of his brother Todd in Cambridge. Todd is diligent in his commitment to the business community as well, and has his sights set on making a difference.
Other than everything else I’ve talked about in this column, that has been similar, both Scott and Todd have the exact same focus on their volunteer roles in the chamber of commerce, and that is a sincere and deep belief that through business, by helping to maintain and create prosperity in our communities, we will provide a better community to raise our families in.
Along with their commitments to family, these two brothers have made it a priority to give back to their communities, and both of them do in so many ways.
They are both leaders, and both committed to quality of life issues. I take my hat off to Mr. and Mrs. Lyons, without you two we wouldn’t have such great leaders,and committed community members as your sons Scott and Todd.
On behalf of the members of the Brantford and Cambridge chambers of commerce, thank you Scott and Todd for your leadership and commitment.
You both have made a difference.