Columbus' youth, growth, intelligence and gratitude aren't in the numbers. They're in the details.

Columbus' youth, growth, intelligence and gratitude aren't in the numbers. They're in the details.

As chairman of the board for the Columbus Chamber since mid-February, I'm seeing the business community from a whole new perspective, and I'm excited about the future of Columbus for many reasons. I'm looking forward to new opportunities that are on the horizon for our city, and the role the Columbus Chamber of Commerce will play in turning these opportunities into actions. Reading about Columbus in trade publications and national rankings, I find the real reward is in seeing these rankings come to life in everyday interactions with chamber members.

We're youthful. Columbus recently ranked #7 nationally as a Best City for Young Professionals by Forbes. While engaging with members like Hot Chicken Takeover, it's apparent there is lots of youth and vitality in our region that will continue to catapult Columbus ahead of the rest of the nation. The younger business owners today are not only focused on making money, but they're focused on making a difference, too. This is an important piece of who they are and what they do.

We're growing. The recent announcement of central Ohio hitting the two-million mark for residency was an amazing illustration of our growth. The Columbus growth rate of 18.6 percent from 2000 to 2014 is significantly higher than the national average of 13 percent and better than benchmark cities of Indianapolis, Kansas City, Louisville, Milwaukee and Pittsburgh. As our population continues to grow, so do business opportunities in this area. More people means more great ideas, more inspiration and more collaboration. When I think of growth, I think of chamber members like Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams. They've illustrated thoughtful growth in central Ohio and in new markets as well.

We're smart. It's nice to be nerdy. With 61 colleges and university campuses located in the Columbus region, we are poised as thought leaders on a national landscape. Our recent nod from the US Department of Transportation as a Smart City finalist recognizes the technology and innovation that our community embraces and fuels. Looking at the business community and seeing chamber members like Alliance Data on the forefront of technology and innovation makes our recognition an obvious choice.

We're appreciative. One of the most attractive reasons for workers to come to Columbus is the fair wages local employers pay. A Midwestern work ethic, coupled with a strong desire to retain and attract talent makes Columbus a given standout with the nation's strongest wage growth, as recognized by CNN Money. As a result, the area is experiencing unemployment rates below the national average as well. Employees who are reaping the rewards of a strong wage are benefitting the local economy by spending that hard-earned money in our own backyard. When local dollars stay local, it strengthens the economy of the region as a whole.

Here at the chamber, I'm joined by another new face at the helm of the organization as well-Don DePerro. He has been an important part of the Columbus business scene for more than two decades, so his connections and knowledge will enable us to be a part of conversations where we can make an impact. As we approach this year with new leadership at the chamber, I look at the Columbus business landscape with excitement knowing that the future is here. Being part of the business community and chamber leadership at this time is an extremely exciting place to be.

If your company aspires to be included among these ranks, let's talk about how the Columbus Chamber can be a catalyst for your business growth.

Jeff Sopp, CEO of PRIVIT, became chairman of the board for the Columbus Chamber of Commerce on February 11. Don DePerro stepped into his role as president and CEO on March 1 and can be reached at dondeperro@columbus.org