Antioch Chamber honors city’s economic development director at first State of Business luncheon

City of Antioch Economic Development Director Kwame Reed thanks the Antioch Chamber of Commerce for honoring him as Mike McGill, Economic Development Chair presents him with a plaque during the State of Business luncheon on Tuesday, Oct. 25, 2022. Photos by Allen D. Payton

Assemblywoman Wilson, Mayor Thorpe share what their governments are doing for business; he commits $100K to Chamber

Chamber Exec shares about his organization’s achievements and future plans

By Allen D. Payton

Kwame Reed holds his plaque with Mike McGill and were joined by chamber and city leaders.

During its first State of Business luncheon on Tuesday, Oct. 24, 2022, the Antioch Chamber of Commerce honored Economic Development Director Kwame Reed presenting him with a plaque recognizing his efforts over the past five years. The event held at the Lone Tree Golf and Event Cente, was co-sponsored by PG&E and attended by about 60 people. It replaced the annual State of the City luncheon which hasn’t occurred for a few years due to the response to COVID-19, Chamber Executive Director Daniel Sohn shared.

During his presentation, Mike McGill, the Chamber’s Economic Development Chair spoke about Reed’s contributions to Antioch’s economy followed by comments by Mayor Lamar Thorpe.

“After the economic downturn when I was a councilmember, Kwame’s position was one of the first positions we invested in,” Thorpe stated.

McGill then presented Reed with the plaque and gave him the opportunity to say a few words.

“It’s refreshing to be acknowledged for all the hard work,” Reed responded. “There’s a lot more work that needs to be done. I look forward to working with you all and with Daniel and the spark of energy that he’s brought…that wants to inspire you.”

Assemblywoman Lori Wilson was the event’s keynote speaker.

Assemblywoman Lori Wilson speaks during the luncheon.

“It’s my job to improve the quality of life,” she said “Every person has a right to a high quality of life…to define what that looks like for themselves. My job…is to facilitate that.”

“When we support a marginalized community, we support everyone,” Wilson shared, referring to work for the Black community as the incoming Chair of the Assembly Black Caucus.

“We had an almost $100 billion surplus, this year,” Wilson stated. “The money…is still being allocated.

She mentioned, “$250 million for small business COVID supplemental cost paid sick leave. This comes from the increase in federal funds.”

“Every business has been changed by the pandemic. Some have been forever changed,” the Assemblywoman continued, then spoke of a “fee waiver program for new businesses, to waive filing fees with the Secretary of State.”

“We are here for you to do well. It’s a quality of life issue,” she shared. “Businesses are important. We want businesses to stay in California. There are people in the legislature working hard to ensure it’s business friendly.”

Chamber leaders present Wilson with a clock as a thank you.

“I want to encourage you as business owners who support and provide jobs in our community…every single employee is vital to your business and our community,” Wilson said. “I look forward to continue serving you in this district and the greater Bay Area.”

Wilson, who won a special election in April to fill the vacancy created by the resignation of Jim Frazier, is running for a full term, pointed out that if re-elected she will no longer represent Antioch due to redistricting. But Wilson said she will continue to work with the Antioch Chamber of Commerce.

She was then presented with a clock as a thank you for speaking at the event.

Sohn shared some of the Chamber’s achievements, this year and the organization’s future plans.

“In May 2022 the Chamber became an advocacy member…focusing on tourism and economic development… working to change the state mandates that are not good for business,” he stated. “That means taking the fight to our state legislature.”

“In May, the Chamber also started on the path to become the third official visitors and convention bureau in the county,” he continued. “It will focus on three industries – hotels, hospitality, restaurants and recreation and parks.”
“We want to become a California Welcome Center,” Sohn shared which will bring “$1 million for this community” from state funds.

“In August the Chamber launched the Small Business Investment Center in partnership with Travis Credit Union,” he continued. “We are still taking intakes for that program. Those interested in starting a business should visit

About 60 people attended the Chamber’s luncheon.

Thorpe shared what the city’s been doing for local businesses and committed more funds to the Chamber.

“We’ve invested $2.5 million directly into businesses from the COVID-19 funds,” he stated. “About $1 million is going to façade improvements and grants.”

“I’m still committed that we invest $25,000 for your program,” Thorpe said to Sohn and the Chamber board members in attendance at the luncheon.

“We’ve had an increase in over 6% in business licenses in the city over the past year….for a total of about 3,400 business licenses in Antioch,” Thorpe continued. “For us it’s not just about quality of life for our residents but for our businesses.”

“We really want to invest $100,000 in the Chamber of Commerce to fund everything you want to do,” he stated.

“We believe in your vision and the direction you’re going.”

“This city is about opportunity,” Thorpe exclaimed.

He then spoke of the mental health response team and how they will help in “Reducing the amount of nonsense our police officers are having to deal with…not chasing homeless people from place to place.”

“We have a Dutch Brothers coming to Antioch at Hillcrest and Deer Valley,” Thorpe shared, also mentioning the new restaurants and coffee shops in downtown Rivertown.

“People still want to live in some Facebook dismal apocalypse. Things are good in this city,” he added.To learn more about the City of Antioch’s Economic Development Department and efforts visit For more information about the Antioch Chamber of Commerce visit

the attachments to this post:

Lori Wilson speaks AntCh 102502

Kwame Reed, Chamber & City leaders 102522

Kwame Reed & Mike McGill 102522

Chamber lunch 102522

Chamber leaders & Wilson 102522

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