The LaGrange-Troup County Chamber of Commerce received a 5-Star Accreditation from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the highest accreditation rating that can be achieved and making it one of only eight 5-Star chambers in the State of Georgia, officials announced Tuesday morning.
Of the almost 7,000 chambers nationwide, only 79 have achieved 5-Star rating. This puts the Chamber among the top 1 percent of chambers in the United States, said Scott Landa, Chairman of the LaGrange-Troup County Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors, and vice president for business development of Interface.
“Accreditation validates a chamber as having programs that benefit their local economy and for positively influencing action in their community,” said Raymond P. Towle, U.S. Chamber executive director of political affairs and federation relations. “We applaud these organizational for advancing the principles of free enterprise.”
Accreditation means that the LaGrange-Troup County Chamber is recognized nationally as offering quality programs, practicing sound organization procedures and reliably contributing to positive change in the community. Local chambers are rated Accredited, 3-Stars, 4-Stars or 5-Stars. The local chamber was previously rated a 3-Star with its last accreditation received in 2008.
“Not only is 5-Star Accreditation an honor, it is validation,” Landa said. “It is external validation that compared to our peers and a set of exacting national standards, the LaGrange-Troup County Chamber of Commerce is performing at a very high level for our members and the community.”
Landa made the announcement at Tuesday morning’s Chamber of Commerce Early Bird Breakfast. He thanked all of the board members who had served for the past five years, including past chairs Carol Todd of West Georgia Health, LaGrange mayor-elect Jim Thornton of Thornton & Graham, Renae Willis of CB&T and Bill Stump of Community Bank. The re-accreditation effort was spearheaded by Liza Fritchley of West Georgia Health and Libby Willingham of Mallory Agency.
“The accreditation process is voluntary and involves a significant amount of work,” Landa said. “However, it is worth it because it forces us to methodically examine what we’re doing and focus on making improvements. To move to the highest level of accreditation is very gratifying.”
The accreditation application, which took several months to complete, required the Chamber to submit materials regarding all of its programs and procedures in the areas of governance, finance, human resources, government affairs, program development, communication, technology and facilities. The Chamber received perfect scores in the governance, human resources and facilities sections of the application.
The Accreditation Examining Committee noted several areas of excellence for the LaGrange-Troup County Chamber of Commerce, including the Chamber’s efforts to increase and generate non-dues revenue and the organization’s efforts to help develop a college and career academy in partnership with area stakeholders.
“The Chamber has demonstrated a good track record of operating a successful chamber and achieving desirable results for its members,” noted the Review Board.