Washington Area Chamber of Commerce

About 40 representatives from Independence visited Washington Thursday and Friday as part of the Leadership Exchange program.

The men and women arrived by bus midday Thursday and were welcomed with a lunch and remarks from Washington Mayor Sandy Lucy, who spoke about the founding, early history and how the town learned to embrace and capitalize on its river heritage.

“The secret to our sauce is that we all work together in tandem all the time,” Lucy said. “We like to brag about our volunteer spirit.”

The mayor was followed by city department heads who all gave a brief overview of the demographic and economic status of the community and how the city serves its residents.

One area heavily highlighted was the Chamber of Commerce and the numerous events it holds throughout the year for its 500 members.

Chamber President Jennifer Giesike shared information about the Washington Town & Country Fair as the largest fundraiser for the group each year and the enormous amount of cooperation it requires from dozens of community groups and the city.

After the welcomes and informational session, the Independence delegates were treated to a driving tour of key locations in the city, including the fairgrounds, riverfront and exploration of downtown, sponsored by Downtown Washington Inc.

On Friday morning, the group toured projects completed in cooperation with Downtown Washington Inc., the city, Chamber and service organizations.

After that, they visited the Washington School District’s Four Rivers Career Center, which included a presentation from students, tour of the Confluence Room and a presentation on the Pathways Program.

After a group debriefing discussing takeaways and strategies to take home, the Independence delegation traveled to Hermann for lunch and then continued its trek westward home.