TEXARKANA, Texas — Chamber of Commerce members on Tuesday heard advice about a range of matters including taxes, marketing and how medical marijuana legalization affects employers.
During a one-day learning conference called Engaging Texarkana, speakers, panel discussions and breakout workshops gave participants insights about contemporary issues in business. The event began with an early-morning breakfast and went on to 3 p.m. in the Texarkana Convention Center.
A panel on the topic "What Keeps You Up At Night" touched on managing younger employees; maintaining a positive, effective workforce; and the state of the regional foster care system, among other subjects.
Asked about their advice for local entrepreneurs, the panelists encouraged them to follow their business dreams with confidence.
"There's a lot of support out there," said Lesley Ledwell with Ledwell Machinery. "Just ask!"
"If you want to do something in this community, all you have to do is start stepping up," said Curtis Schneekloth, Chamber board chairman. "You can do anything you want in Texarkana."
"Do it with confidence," said Angela Coston with For the Sake of One, a nonprofit that supports the local foster care community.
Toney Livingston with Tacos 4 Life was also on the panel, and the moderator was Fred Norton, attorney and president of the Texarkana Independent School District's Board of Trustees.
In a breakout session, attorney Louise Tausch and Steve Collier, human resources director with BWI Cos., spoke on employers' concerns about medical marijuana. They emphasized that even with medical marijuana legal, employers can prohibit drug use or impairment on the job. But because drug tests can only detect past use of marijuana, they alone cannot be used as a basis for disciplinary action.
"Be careful why you're taking disciplinary action," Tausch said. "Medical marijuana does not test for current use. It doesn't tell you what you need to know."
Other topics covered during the event included managing Millennials and Gen Z, taxes for business, employee retention and growing an export business.