By Kevin Sheilly

The Ocala/ Marion County Chamber & Economic Partnership has again been named a finalist for the 2019 Chamber of the Year award, presented by Alexandria, Va.-based Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives.

The award, sponsored by MemberClicks, is the most prestigious and competitive recognition presented annually by the Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives (ACCE). ACCE is an association of more than 8,000 professionals from 1,300 chambers of commerce, including 93 of the top 100 U.S. metro areas.

The CEP is honored to again by a finalist for this recognition. It is a great testament to the incredible work of our team, leadership, and most significantly, our partners. We were a finalist in 2017 for this award. We were awarded the Florida Chamber of the Year by the Florida Association of Chamber Professionals in 2018.

The Chamber of the Year award recognizes 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. Chamber of the Year winners will be announced July 15 at the 2019 ACCE Annual Convention in Long Beach, Calif.

Chambers of commerce interested in competing for the award first must 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 and assets, membership account retention, and membership dollar retention.

Qualifying for Chamber of the Year is a rigorous process. Chambers compete based on meeting key performance criteria on the ACCE Annual Operations Survey. Qualifying chambers enter the competition with a written application addressing all aspects of organizational operation and programmatic work. Applications are scored by peer chamber executives to determine finalists. Winners are selected from among finalists based on an in-person interview before a panel of experienced chamber professionals.

It is for this rigorous process that we pursue these types of activities. They drive us to operate at the highest levels of operations and professionalisms to ensure that our partners are deriving the best return possible on their investment.

This year’s competition drew numerous entries from chambers throughout the U.S. To ensure the fairest competition, applicants are grouped into four categories based on: annual revenue, membership, area population and other factors. The CEP is competing as a Category 3 chamber.

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