Join Login

History

A reflection on the past and a vision for the future

“PROGRESS SHALL BE THE RESULT OF RETAINING THE GOOD OF THE OLD AND EMBRACING THE TRIED OF THE NEW.”

Once again, we find ourselves in a defining moment of time, shaping a promising future for Greater Madison as a home for industry. Our goal today differs in no way from the one originally published in 1914: to build upon Greater Madison’s legacy and gifts for the benefit of the next century and beyond.

Since our start over a century ago, the industries and economy have grown from cutting-edge technologies to distinctive retail shops to inventive services and products. Madison’s businesses vary greatly but are united by the region’s entrepreneurial spirit. Mergers, economic nightmares and even a fire couldn’t stop the Greater Madison Chamber of Commerce from becoming a leader in the community. For more than 140 years, the Chamber has given voice to businesses in the region. See how it all started in 1869 and how the Chamber is moving Greater Madison forward into the future.

Timeline

1950:
Association renamed Madison Chamber of Commerce and members elect Arthur Towell as president.
1952:
Madison Chamber of Commerce, Madison Associations, Inc., and Madison and Wisconsin Foundation merge and rename as Madison Chamber of Commerce and Foundation.
1961:
Chamber membership reaches 1,100 members.
1971:
Chamber renamed Greater Madison Chamber of Commerce to encompass the entire Madison metropolitan area.
1972:
Two new organizations emerge from the Chamber:

1973:
Business and Education Coordinating Council, formed in partnership with the Madison Metropolitan School District, begins as a forum for communication and interaction between business and education.
1978:
On May 4, fire destroys the Chamber’s headquarters, along with all organizational property and records.
1987:
In partnership with the Wisconsin Housing and Economic Development Authority, Chamber forms the Wisconsin Innovation Network (WIN) to expand Wisconsin Venture Fair and High Technology Consortium efforts statewide.
1991:
Metropolitan Neighborhood Business Council of the Chamber forms, with local neighborhood associations.
1993:
Leadership Greater Madison  launches with Chamber sponsorship, designed to prepare emerging leaders to make meaningful community contributions.
2004:
Jennifer Alexander joins as Chamber president. Chamber starts MAGNET, targeting people in their 20s, 30s and early 40s, designed to attract and retain the next generation of leaders to the region.
2005:
Small Business Advisory Council forms as an advisory committee to the leadership of the Greater Madison Chamber of Commerce and the Mayor of the City of Madison.
2007:
Jennifer Alexander announces first-ever candidate endorsements for the Madison Common Council on Feb. 7. “Our goal for this election is to educate the voters on the candidates and their positions on issues that shape the business climate in Madison,” said Alexander.  “I think you’re going to see the business community more involved in the elections—and it’s only going to grow.”
2012:
Jennifer Alexander retires, and Zach Brandon is hired as Chamber President.