PLATTSBURGH — The North Country Chamber of Commerce has received a five-star accreditation from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.
It is one of only 77 chambers to receive that level of recognition, which places it in the top 1 percent in the country.
U.S. Chamber Executive Director of Political Affairs and Federation Relations Raymond Towle said the accreditation validates a chamber and programs that benefit the local economy and influence action in the community.
“We applaud these organizations for advancing the principles of free enterprise,” he said in a press release.
North Country Chamber President Garry Douglas said the recognition is gratifying
“We were accredited at the four-star level five years ago, but our board and staff were determined to merit the five-star award in this, the chamber’s centennial year, and they (chamber staff) have done it,” he said.
The rating recognizes the chamber’s ability to meet national standards in its operations and programs, including an extensive review process that takes six to nine months and must be repeated every five years.
North Country Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors Chairman Ron Graham said he is proud of the chamber and the efforts of its staff and volunteers.
“We knew we were doing well across the board, but to have it affirmed by the U.S. Chamber and our national peers in such a major way is another matter,” he said. “And of the nine areas of review, we achieved perfect scores in five, which is remarkable.”
North Country Chamber Re-accreditation Committee Chair Robert Frenyea said the recognition was no surprise.
“I don’t know of any organization in the North Country that has a staff that is as dedicated and as professional as the chamber staff. We are fortunate to have them representing us and the entire North Country region,” he said.
The region’s federal and state representatives welcomed the award.
U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer said the designation affirms what he has known for years.
“The North Country Chamber of Commerce is quite possibly the best chamber in the state,” he said in a statement. “They have proven themselves time and time again to be a powerful and effective voice for the region and a true agent for positive change.”
Congressman Bill Owens said the chamber’s efforts are critical to economic development and job creation in the region.
“I have worked with them throughout my career, both in Washington and before being elected to Congress, to help bring new businesses to the region and encourage those already here to grow. I applaud them on this affirmation of their good work and wish them continued success in the years ahead.”
State Sen. Betty Little said the chamber’s work is making a positive difference in a challenging global economy.
“I congratulate the chamber on this well-deserved highest ranking,” she said. “Last year’s ‘best plan’ award to the North Country Regional Economic Development Council and today’s positive recognition for the chamber reflect the vision for growth combined with the tremendous effort and teamwork making it happen.”
State Assemblywoman Janet Duprey said the chamber has once again made everyone proud.
“It is no surprise to those of us who work closely with them that the U.S. Chamber has given our regional chamber the highest possible rating in the accreditation process. Congratulations to all who were a part of this process.”