Contact: Bárbara Rivera Holmes
March 21, 2019
Albany Area Chamber nationally honored with 4-Star rating from U.S. Chamber
Prestigious distinction recognizes the Albany Area Chamber in top 3 percent of chambers in country
Albany, Ga.– The United States Chamber of Commerce has awarded the Albany Area Chamber of Commerce with 4-Star Accreditation for its sound policies, effective organizational procedures and positive impact on the community. The Albany Area Chamber has been accredited with the U.S. Chamber since 1997 and previously held 3-Star status.
“Each day, chambers of commerce are working hard to put the American dream within reach of every hardworking business owner,” said Raymond P. Towle, IOM, CAE, U.S. Chamber vice president of Federation Relations and Institute for Organization Management. “The Accreditation designation tells chamber members, as well as the greater business community, that this is an organization that has effective programs, sound finances and is a strong advocate for their interests.”
Accreditation is the only national program that recognizes chambers for their effective organizational procedures and community involvement. In order to receive Accreditation, a chamber must meet minimum standards in their operations and programs, and demonstrate core competencies in nine areas: governance, finance, human resources, government affairs, program development, technology, communications, facilities and benchmarking. This extensive and intensive self-review can take six-nine months to complete.
“To be awarded with 4-star Accreditation from the U.S. Chamber is an incredible accomplishment for the Albany Area Chamber of Commerce, our staff and our volunteers, who work every day to support the membership, stand up for business, build collaborative partnerships and advance economic opportunities for the Albany Area,” said Bárbara Rivera Holmes, president and CEO of the Albany Area Chamber. “There are more than 7,000 chambers of commerce in the United States; our 4-Star designation puts us in the top 3 percent of chambers across the country and demonstrates excellence in nine core areas ranging from governance and government affairs to finance, communications and technology.I could not be prouder of our organization and of what this designation means for our members and our community.”
The U.S. Chamber recognized with excellence the Albany Area Chamber’s work in a variety of areas, including:
- its strong government affairs program, through which the chamber has established itself an advocate for the Albany Area business community through its involvement in regional coalitions, policy advocacy and trips to meet with state and federal lawmakers
- its significant role in business, community and economic recovery and advocacy following the devastating natural disasters of 2017 and 2018
- its work force development and educational programs and partnerships, including its “Go See” tour of schools and its “Priority One” mentorship initiative
- its branding and external communications
“I am proud of this community and proud of the great efforts that the Albany Area Chamber has made. To serve as the chairman of the chamber board this year is the very least I could do in light of what this community has given me,” said Scott Tomlinson, CEO of Flint Community Bank and 2019 Chair of the Board of Directors of the Albany Area Chamber. “This accomplishment just confirms what I already knew concerning the hard, diligent work of our staff and team of volunteers. This recognition is truly an honor.”
Local chambers are rated Accredited, 3-Stars, 4-Stars, or 5-Stars. The final determination is made by the Accrediting Board, a committee of U.S. Chamber board members.
The 4-Star designation ranks the Albany Area Chamber in the top 180 of the more than 7,000 chambers in the United States.
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is the world’s largest business federation, representing the interests of more than 3 million businesses of all sizes, sectors and regions, as well as state and local chambers and industry associations.
The Albany Area Chamber of Commerce, established in 1910, advocates for business success through leadership and economic development. Learn more at Albanyga.com.
Lagging investment crippling local and national transportation infrastructure. TSPLOST provides local funding mechanism.
By Bárbara Rivera Holmes
President & CEO
Albany Area Chamber of Commerce
When it comes to moving people or goods, transportation is key.
Transportation is simply defined as transporting someone or something, or the process of being transported. That action or process is facilitated by many factors, including quality roads, roadway signage, efficient intersections and sidewalks. Without maintenance of these factors, the “someone or something” can’t be transported or the efficiency of the transport is significantly diminished. This hurts commerce, and when commerce suffers, so do people and economies.
Now during early voting and on March 19, voters in Albany and Dougherty County can vote to invest in safe and efficient transportation, enhancing the health of our economy and the quality of life for our residents. From roadway improvements to sidewalks, the project list for the $80 million Transportation Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax (TSPLOST) addresses needs that are critical to economic growth.
TSPLOST allows voters to dedicate a 1 percent sales tax for special transportation projects. That 1 percent sales tax would be applied to all goods and services that are taxable; it is an equitable consumption tax shared by all who make purchases in Albany and Dougherty County. TSPLOST is estimated to generate $80 million in revenue during its five-year life cycle. Of that $80 million, nearly half could be generated by out-of-town visitors to the community, diminishing by nearly 50 percent the contribution to be made by local residents and business owners. Full benefit at nearly half the cost.
Areas of needed improvements that are supported by TSPLOST include:
The single largest allocation of TSPLOST funds includes road resurfacing and associated infrastructure for roads in poor/very poor condition, preventing the continued structural deterioration of more than 250 miles of roads in Albany and Dougherty County.
TSPLOST allocates funds to intersection upgrades and road improvements to ease traffic congestion and improve safety. Funds are also dedicated to roadway widenings that impact traffic congestion and safety.
Sidewalk installation and improvements are included in TSPLOST project list. This includes installation of concrete sidewalks to enhance pedestrian safety near schools and other heavily traveled areas where sidewalks are lacking.
Years ago, “All Roads Lead to Albany” was a popular Chamber campaign touting the roadway infrastructure of Albany and Dougherty County. The campaign was effective; the community’s four-lane highway connectivity, interior road grid, quality of roads and accessibility to interstates has proved a selling point for manufacturing, distribution and logistics companies that have relocated or expanded locations to Albany and Dougherty County.
Today, the narrative behind “All Roads Lead to Albany” remains a relevant selling point. But those roads, through years and years of increasing wear and tear, are in need of maintenance that far exceeds the available funding.
Nationally, the situation is alarmingly similar. The American Association of Civil Engineers (AACE) gave the American transportation infrastructure a grade of D+ and estimated a $2 trillion infrastructure gap, including investments for surface transportation such as bridges and roadways. According to a recent U.S. Chamber of Commerce report, AACE estimates that four in 10 American roads are in poor to mediocre condition and that by 2025, our nation’s failing infrastructure systems will have cost American businesses $7 trillion.
“Moreover,” the article stated, “roadway features are likely a contributing factor in approximately a third of traffic fatalities, according to national transportation research group TRIP, while motor vehicle crashes in which roadways were a likely contributing factor cost American motorists $101.1 billion per year
“In large part,” the U.S. Chamber concluded, “our country’s failing infrastructure is due to lagging investment. While population, road congestion and maintenance backlogs have ballooned, investment into maintaining, repairing and upgrading our critical infrastructure systems has slipped.
“You don’t have to be a civil engineer to know that our nation’s infrastructure is falling apart,” said U.S. Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Tom Donohue. “All you have to do is leave your house. The evidence is everywhere – and affects everyone.”
Communities close to Albany and Dougherty County, and cities and counties throughout Georgia, are addressing chronic transportation funding gaps through the passage of TSPLOST. If voters in Albany and Dougherty County do not pass the referendum, the needs will continue to go unmet, creating a more challenging and costlier situation for local residents and business owners. These challenges will ultimately need a solution, and without other funding mechanisms that help offset the local investment, residents and business owners in Albany and Dougherty County will, at some point and in some way, likely assume the full expense of updating the community’s transportation infrastructure and assets.
Understanding the need for adequate transportation infrastructure for the economic health of our community and the quality of life of our citizens, the Albany Area Chamber supports passage of TSPLOST and encourages residents of Albany and Dougherty County to “VOTE YES TO TSPLOST” now during early voting or on March 19.
Bárbara Rivera Holmes is president and CEO of the Albany Area Chamber of Commerce, which advocates for business success through leadership and economic development.
The Albany Area Chamber of Commerce in partnership with the University of Georgia Small Business Development Center is proud to offer this class, providing business owners and key managers with five tips to take the customer service form good to stellar. The tools you will learn will be presented in a concise manner so that you can easily apply them to your business.
For more information, call: (229) 420-1144
The Albany Area Chamber of Commerce Small Business and Membership Committee will hold a quarterly breakfast June 11 for, new, existing and prospective members of the Chamber. This event provides a platform for local business to network, share information, hear presentations and discover valuable resources in our community.
Join us on FRIDAY, MAY 10th for the world’s largest one-day leadership event. Learn the art and science of building healthy teams at Leadercast Live 2019 in Albany, Georgia. It just takes one day to bring your team together in front of 9 leadership experts and leave with dynamic leadership lessons.
8-8:30 Registration | 8:45 – 4pm Program
Lunch and refreshments provided.
Click image to register for event.
*This event is part of the Albany Area Chamber of Commerce’s Small Business Week.
The Albany Area Chamber is accepting nominations for its Small Business of the Year and Non-Profit of the Year awards. We’re looking for organizations that strive daily to meet high standards, that provide an exceptional product and/or service, and that represent the very best of the Albany Area.
Know a small business or non-profit that is deserving of this recognition?
Nominate them today!