Cape Girardeau Chamber of Commerce garners national, state reco

Sunday, February 19, 2006

The Cape Girardeau Area Chamber of Commerce often bestows awards to industries, small businesses and individuals. In November 2005, the chamber was the recipient of two notable awards itself.

The chamber received a four-star accreditation from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and it was named Chamber of the Year by the Missouri Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

"Our Cape Girardeau Area Chamber of Commerce just completed arguably its finest year ever," chamber board chairman Jim Limbaugh said at the time. "Being chosen by your peers is especially rewarding given the competitive nature of the marketplace."

John Mehner, chamber president and CEO, said the four-star accreditation placed the chamber among the top 1 percent of chambers in the country.

The success in 2005 came in the areas of job creation, community development, leadership development and relationship building, tourism development and organization development. "Our members played a key role in each of these areas and often were rewarded with good business contacts," said Mehner.

Accreditation was one of the goals of the Cape Girardeau Area Chamber of Commerce as outlined by its board of directors in the 2005 Annual Report and Business Plan. According to Thomas Donohue, president and CEO of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the accreditation program is the only one of its kind to monitor the chamber of commerce industry.

"Accreditation is one of the highest honors bestowed on local chambers fighting for pro-growth and jobs policies at the federal, state and local level," said Donohue. "We are proud to recognize these chambers and their members for helping to advance the principles of free enterprise, which is the bedrock of this prestigious award."

Mehner said that to receive a four-star accreditation the first time "speaks very highly of our chamber."

To achieve accreditation, a chamber must meet minimum standards in their operations and programs, including areas of government affairs, governance and technology.

The accrediting board -- a panel of U.S. Chamber board members -- votes on the final accreditation.

The program was developed in 1964 by a team of chamber executives and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce for continuous improvement of local chambers of commerce.

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