Bay Area Chamber of Commerce strengthens community by making connections

Ryan Tarrant, the president and CEO of Bay City’s Chamber of Commerce, thinks that Bay County is set up for success.

“Bay City is in a great place right now,” he says. “We’ve overcome many challenges and much of our entrepreneurial groundwork has been laid—CMURC, City Offices, our partnership with Delta College and much more.”

While he is relatively new to the position, having joined the Chamber in September of 2017, he came with almost 20 years of legislative, media relations, and community initiative experience. Tarrant served in Midland as external affairs director and constituent relations representative for U.S. Rep Dave Camp, and in Washington D.C. as John Molenaar’s chief of staff.

He says that experience helps his work now, as the Chamber of Commerce acts to facilitate connections and collaborations with other organizations and businesses within the city to develop a thriving community in order to enhance economic growth.

But what exactly does a Chamber of Commerce do?

In the spirit of advocacy and networking, the Chamber offers many opportunities and resources to Bay County’s business community, designed to strengthen the businesses residents interact with every day.

These opportunities include networking events such as breakfasts and community luncheons where businesses can connect with one another, as well as stay informed about important community news and initiatives.

New this year was the “Leading The Way” speaker series, where the Chamber hosted elected officials such as Congressman Dan Kildee as their keynote guest. The Chamber hosts recurring events such as the Bay Area Young Professionals Network coffee socials and business after hours--all events geared toward networking, professional development and overall betterment of the community.

The benefits of a local business becoming a member of the Chamber of Commerce are plentiful. Not only do members of the Chamber get early and discounted access to Chamber events, but the funds from membership go directly to bettering the community through advocacy and community resources.

Tarrant says that the along with the Chamber’s efforts to encourage growth and new job opportunities comes the need for fresh and impressive talent, so the Chamber of Commerce partners directly with local educational institutions to connect students to career opportunities in the area. The Chamber also offers resources to students while they are in school, such as job shadowing and soft-skill training.

“Not only are we supporting local students,” Tarrant states, “we are also looking to create an environment and community that other students will want to move to someday.”

For more information about the Bay Area Chamber of Commerce and a full events calendar, visit