The Greater Aiken Chamber of Commerce remains among the elite when it received U.S. Chamber of Commerce accreditation at the highest level, 5-Star, on Nov. 15. Only 105 of the nation’s approximately 7,000 chambers nationwide currently hold this distinction. The 5-Star rating maintains the Aiken Chamber’s standing in the top 1percent of chambers in the U.S.
Special recognition was given in the following areas:
- * The chamber has developed an excellent orientation programs for its Board of Directors and Executive Committee. It is also recognized for the work of its Next Big Ideas panel and Aspirational Cities Tour.
- * The chamber has developed an excellent Personnel Policies & Procedures Manual, and is recognized for supporting the continued professional development of its staff.
- * The chamber has established itself as an advocate for its business community. It is recognized for its Mayoral Forum and its work in partnership with the Savannah River Site Community Reuse Organization to facilitate economic development opportunities and diversify the region’s economy. Its efforts to identify members interested in serving on local boards are noted as well.
- * The chamber’s work to support and enhance the region’s workforce development initiatives is noted, including its efforts to place apprentices with local industry.
- * The chamber achieved a perfect score in the Governance, Human Resources, Program Development, Technology, Communications and Facilities sections.
“The last accreditation cycle, we only had one section with a perfect score,” said Chamber President/CEO J. David Jameson. “This cycle we had six of the nine areas with perfect scores. This means that we have been 5-star accredited for a decade, and that we have continued to improve. It proves that a dollar invested in the Aiken Chamber is a dollar well spent.”
The six-month process of extensive self-review involved a thorough introspective look at what the Chamber is doing well. The professional staff reviewed all processes and procedures, and supporting documentation had to be provided for nine sections that covered everything from governance and governmental affairs to program development and benchmarking. The process provided an opportunity to review accomplishments and also the opportunity to chart a path forward.
Accreditation is the culmination of the work of many volunteers, staff and contributions of many Board members and six Board chairs - Arthur W. “Buzz” Rich, Steve Wilson, Dr. Deidre Martin, Rep. Bart Blackwell, Fran Jones and Charlie Hartz – and of Chamber President/CEO J. David Jameson.
The Aiken Chamber was originally accredited by the U.S. Chamber in 1995 and has maintained its accreditation status since that time. The organization was accredited again in 2000, 2006, 2011, and now in 2016. Accreditation recognizes chambers whose operating procedures and commitment to community stand out from the crowd.
The only national program recognizing chambers for their effective organizational procedures and community involvement, Accreditation allows chambers to renew, improve and promote sound business practices, policies and procedures. Local chambers are rated Accredited, 3-Stars, 4-Stars or 5-Stars.To achieve 5-Star Accreditation, a chamber must exceed industry standards in its operations and programs.
The Chamber plays a critical role in making good things happen in Aiken. The 5 Star Accreditation validates the Aiken Chamber as having effective programs that benefit the local economy and influence the community. Congratulations for consistently staying true to the Chamber’s mission to create opportunities for members to build successful businesses and to enhance the quality of life for all.
Arthur W. “Buzz” Rich, 2012 Chamber Chair
The Aiken business community is aware that it is served by a top notch Chamber of Commerce. With back-to-back 5 Star Accreditations we have the confirmation that what we know is true locally is recognized nationally. Our Chamber is as good as it gets! The Chamber staff especially should be congratulated for this recognition for their tireless and effective efforts on behalf of our businesses.
Steve Wilson, 2013 Chamber Chair
SRP Federal Credit Union
The Aiken Chamber's 5 Star Accreditation is a well-deserved recognition for one of the most outstanding chamber teams in the South - from dedicated staff to wonderful community leadership. With a well-defined focus on being the "voice for business" in the region, the Aiken Chamber is truly an asset to its members and the larger community. If you're lucky enough to be part of the Aiken Chamber, you’re lucky enough!
Dr. Deidre Martin, 2014 Chamber Chair
Formerly with USC Aiken
Once again the Chamber has demonstrated its commitment to excellence by receiving another 5-star designation, placing it in the top 1% of all chambers nationwide. This is a testament to the hard work and dedication of the chamber staff, volunteer leadership and our 1,000 members. Truly a special honor and something the entire community should be proud of.
Rep. Bart Blackwell, 2015 Chamber Chair
Achieving the 5 Star Accreditation means that our Chamber is on par with the “best of the best” nationwide. By establishing best practices and staying in-step with industry changes, the Greater Aiken Chamber will continue to lead the Aiken Business Community to greater success.
Fran Jones, 2016 Chamber Chair
Bridgestone Americas Tire Operations
The elite 5-Star status demonstrates the dedication of numerous volunteers, who are the spark behind the Chamber’s success, and to the commitment of the Chamber’s professional staff and David Jameson’s leadership. It is no coincidence that the Aiken Chamber has performed at this level for the past decade and David has been leading the organization for the past decade.
Charlie Hartz, 2016/2017 Chamber Chair
Dunkin’ Donuts of Aiken