The American Chamber of Commerce Executives, an association of professionals who manage chambers of commerce, has named the Conway Area Chamber of Commerce the 2013 Chamber of the Year.
The Chamber of the Year award is the nation’s only award recognizing the dual role chambers have in creating both leading businesses and communities. The award recognizes excellence in operations, member services and community leadership. Contenders underwent a multi-step process that included the ACCE Operations Survey, an application and portfolio, and an in-person interview.
The operations survey pre-qualified applicants for the award. More than 200 ACCE-member chambers of commerce were invited to compete following the review of data. These chambers were then grouped into four categories based on population in their service area, number of businesses in their service area, membership and annual revenue. Conway Area Chamber was one of three finalists in Category 3 — the second-largest category. The other finalists in this category were Christian County Chamber of Commerce in Kentucky and Michigan West Coast Chamber of Commerce.
The awards program took place Wednesday, June 24, at ACCE’s annual convention in Oklahoma City. The entire Chamber staff was invited to attend the ceremony and witness their organization take home the top award. Brad Lacy, president and CEO, said the Conway Area Chamber’s investors and the city as a whole deserve for their Chamber to be the best.
“I can honestly say that Conway is the best city in Arkansas, and our Chamber has the best team in the business,” Lacy said. “The investments of time and resources from our members, volunteers and community leaders make a difference in our ability to compete at a national level. We are honored that our peers in the chamber industry recognize the work we do every day.”
The awards program was also an occasion to recognize two Conway Area Chamber staff members who obtained the highest achievement in the chamber management profession. TJ Johnston, executive vice president, and Jamie Gates, senior vice president, earned their Certified Chamber Executive designation after completing a rigorous four-step process. Johnston and Gates were two of 21 candidates nationwide in the CCE Class of 2013.
The Conway Area Chamber was also recognized at the ACCE convention for receiving Awards of Excellence for outstanding communications efforts.
The 29th annual Awards for Communication Excellence program attracted 142 entries from chambers of all sizes across the U.S. A three-judge panel of chamber executives evaluated the entries and selected winners in four categories: advertising, electronic, publications and campaigns.
Conway Area Chamber received an award in the publications category for its 2011 “Hidden Treasures of Conway” annual report and in the advertising category for the Conway Development Corporation’s “Forward Together” invitation. Conway Chamber was in the largest class for these awards and was recognized alongside larger organizations in Dallas, Kansas City, Milwaukee, Nashville, Oklahoma City and Tulsa.
About the American Chamber of Commerce Executives
Established in 1914, ACCE is the only national association uniquely serving the professional development needs of individuals who manage chambers of commerce throughout the U.S. and several other countries. Representing 7,500 chamber professionals, ACCE enhances the knowledge, leadership skills and management effectiveness of chamber executives and their staffs through education, publications, research, benchmarking and best practices.