We are #1 (or at least a finalist)! I am very excited to share that the Ocala/Marion County Chamber & Economic Partnership (CEP) has been named a finalist for the 2017 Chamber of the Year award, presented by the Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives. The CEP along with the other three finalists for the award will be celebrated at a special event on Tuesday, July 18, in Nashville, Tenn., with the winner to be announced that evening.

This is an incredible testament to the success of our partners and leadership in implementing their vision with our Moving Forward campaign. We are excited for this recognition and to shine a light on the great work being done in this community.

Chamber of the Year is the nation’s only award recognizing the leadership role chambers have in their communities. Those honored with the Chamber of the Year designation have demonstrated organizational strength and made an impact on key community priorities, such as education, transportation, business development and quality of life.

Chambers of commerce interested in competing for the award must first qualify by participating in a vigorous, multi-stage process. Organizations entering the Chamber of the Year competition must meet minimum thresholds in at least three of five key performance areas, including net revenue, net assets, membership account retention, and membership dollar retention.

This year’s competition drew numerous entries from chambers throughout the U.S and Canada. To ensure the fairest competition, applicants are grouped into five categories based on: annual revenue, membership, area population, and several other factors. The CEP is competing in the Major Cities category.

More Recognitions

Six Marion County businesses were named finalists for GrowFl’s Companies to Watch list. The awards honors 50 select second-stage companies from throughout the state for developing valuable products & services, creating quality jobs, enriching communities, and broadening new industries. The CEP nominated all six local finalists (L&M Compressors, Marion Precision Tool, MzeroA.com, Raneys, Winco Mfg, and Human Potential Healthcare). Winners will be announced in mid-July.

The CEP’s Diana Schwartz (Business Retention/Ocala Main Street) earned the national MSARP credential. She is one of only nine main street directors in the nation with this certification.

Tamara Fleischhaker, the CEP’s Vice President for Business Advocacy & Partner Services, was named the Chamber Professional of the Year by the Florida Association of Chamber Professionals. Tamara has been with the CEP and its predecessor organizations for more than 12 years.

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