McALLEN—The McAllen Chamber of Commerce recently achieved a distinction shared with few other chambers across the country.
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce gave its “5-Star Accreditation” to the McAllen Chamber, recognizing the local organization’s procedures, organization and community imprint, according to an April 4 news release.
“This effort took over a year to complete and I am very proud of every person who made a significant contribution,” Steve Ahlenius, president and CEO of the McAllen Chamber, said in the release. “The McAllen Chamber is one of only seven chambers in the state of Texas to accomplish the five-star status – and we are very proud to be among the few.”
Ahlenius said via email that the McAllen Chamber is among 81 across the country that have received the five-star distinction.
“Accreditation validates a chamber as having programs that benefit their local economy and for positively influencing action in their community,” Raymond P. Towle, executive director of political affairs and federation relations for the U.S. Chamber, said in the release. “We applaud the McAllen Chamber of Commerce for advancing the principles of free enterprise.”
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce decided in March to honor the McAllen Chamber with the five-star accreditation, according to a March 6 news release posted on the U.S. Chamber’s website. Accreditation can come without stars, or include between three and five.
Ahlenius accepted the recognition for the McAllen Chamber from John Gonzales, regional manager for the U.S. Chamber’s Southwest and South Central region, on April 10 at a chamber luncheon at the McAllen Country Club. After singling out the efforts of Gerry Garcia — the Chamber’s vice president of special projects and executive assistant to the CEO — and saying that the five-star accreditation is indicative “of what this business community expects,” Ahlenius pointed to the principles Towle referenced.
Gonzales explained why the McAllen Chamber obtained the five-star distinction, describing “an intensive self-evaluation process” that focuses on nine categories: governance, finance, human resources, government affairs, program development, communications, technology, facilities and benchmarking. Within the governance, human resources and facilities areas, the McAllen Chamber earned perfect marks, he said.
Of the 7,077 chambers across the country, just the top 2 percent possess the five-star accreditation, Gonzales said. He highlighted what the honor indicates about the McAllen Chamber.
“It shows it is eager to review, improve and promote sound business practices,” Gonzales said. “It signifies leadership … and an outstanding contribution to the community. But even more than that, accreditation underscores the chamber’s commitment to advancing the united interests of the business community.”