The Indian American Chamber of Commerce Orlando has a new president.
Yog Melwani of Align Commercial Real Estate in Windermere recently started his tenure as president of the Indian American Chamber of Commerce Orlando, looking to involve the chamber in new initiatives and events over the coming months.
Melwani will serve as president through 2018 and 2019, and has been on the chamber’s board of directors since 2014.
“With respect to the role and the time involved, we’re not a compensated board of directors – we’re doing it because of the support of the community and the support of the chamber and members involved in our chamber,” Melwani said. “It gives me great pleasure in serving in that capacity, basically being able to give back to our community and our organization that has given us so much in life.”
According to Orlando Economic Partnership, there are 28,281 Asian Indians living and doing business in the Orlando MSA, which consists of Orange, Seminole, Lake and Osceola Counties.
The chamber currently has a membership pool of 227 members.
“Our median household income is roughly about 23-24% higher than the Orlando metropolitan statistical area,” Melwani said. “From a question of the economic boost we provide, the only thing I can tell you is we provide a significant boost.
“If you look at the statistics, many people in many professions such as doctors, such as IT professionals, such as scientists, such as UCF … look at the amount of Indians that are involved there. … The Numbers are very attractive.”
The new president said that the chamber will play a bigger role in Orlando’s Smart Cities initiative, which pushes for enhanced, cutting-edge technology.
The IACC in partnership with the City of Orlando and Rollins College will host a Smart Cities Roundtable Event on March 14 at the Bush Auditorium at Rollins College. The Business After Hours portion of the high-tech discussion among business and government leaders will include Mr. Chris Castro, Director of Sustainability for the City of Orlando, Mr. Rasesh Thakkar, Senior Managing Director and Director of Tavistock Group, and Mr. Nagesh Singh, the Consul General of India based in Atlanta.
“We’re going to invite stakeholders and people in the development, engineering, resource and implementation to basically talk about how we can bring Orlando to become a Smart City,” Melwani said.
“Additionally, [we can] try to cross collaborate with recourses and Smart Cities in India, as it relates to what India is doing with Prime Minister [Narendra] Modi’s initiative of wanting 100 Smart Cities.”
The chamber has its eye on several events in 2018, including the Sixth annual India Day Celebration in partnership with the Orlando Magic. The event will be held from 4 to 10 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 3 at the Amway Center as the the Magic face the Washington Wizards. Guests can expect pre-game festivities and on-court performances surrounding the game.
The Gandhi Day of Service is another large community service project in the works for this year. The Third annual Gandhi Day of Service was held Oct. 14, 2017. Volunteers gathered to pack 35,000 meals with Feeding Children Everywhere, helping hungry children who were affected by Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria, according to a statement from the chamber. IACC leaders are planning a Gandhi Day of Service event for October/November 2018. The event will celebrate Mahatma Gandhi’s message of service and Orlando’s diversity, according to a statement from the chamber.
Melwani said that he understands that the chamber serves a critical role in the business community: bringing people together to share ideas.
“Small business is roughly 95 plus percent of our economy in terms of job creation,” he said. “When you bring people together, good things typically happen. Ideas are spoken about, business is spoken about and one thing leads to another…. From that perspective, it’s incumbent upon us as a chamber of commerce to provide that platform, to bring people together.”