Lakeland Business Guide 2019 Chamber Guide_2019 - Page 33

Joe L. Ruthven Joe L. Ruthven understands the importance of serving a community. For the past 18 years, Ruthven has worked as the as the vice president of operations and construction at The Ruthvens. A company founded by his father Joe P. Ruthven, The Ruthvens prides itself on having invested in the Lakeland community for more than 55 years. Following in his father’s footsteps, Ruthven became the chair of the Lakeland Area Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors in 2010. At the time, the country was going through a recession, and the board played an important role in the city through supporting small businesses. The board also navigated through the debate of a proposed location for high-speed rail stop, holding several forums and discussions. Ruthven believes the significant role the chamber plays in Lakeland is through its involvement with small businesses. “The Chamber board is a key supporter of small businesses, to help them succeed, to represent them before the city commission, and with state and county government where appropriate.” As the Chamber looks to stay relevant within the business community through implementing new programs, Ruthven shares how the changes will work for the benefit of the city. “The agenda that the current board is supporting to move to another location, and to provide training and engagement of new businesses with all of the Chamber and Economic resources, is working together for the success of the business and our city government,” says Ruthven. In addition having served on the Chamber board, Ruthven has also been highly involved with the Lakeland Rotary Club as the president. In June of 2016, Ruthven was the recipient of the Hall of Fame Awards at The Lakeland Rotary Club. He previously served on the Board of Directors Member and Treasurer of Historic Polk Theater, and Board Chair and Board of Directors Member of Central Florida Speech and Hearing Center. 33