Gwinnett Chamber named finalist for national award

LAWRENCEVILLE - The Gwinnett County Chamber of Commerce is one of three finalists competing for the National Chamber of the Year award, sponsored by the American Chamber of Commerce Executives.

The winner will be announced Aug. 3 at the ACCE annual Awards Gala in Sacramento, Calif. This will be the ACCE's first year naming a national chamber of the year winner.

The Gwinnett Chamber is competing against the Greater Louisville (Ky.) Metro Chamber of Commerce and the Charleston (S.C.) Metro Chamber of Commerce.

Member and revenue growth, along with innovative program development are the qualifications examined by judges, according to Demming Bass, vice president of marketing and public relations for the Gwinnett County Chamber of Commerce.

"We launched innovative programs, like the auto dealers forum and the technology forum," Bass said. "Community programs that help the community grow, like the Success Lives Here business leadership series and the Partnership Gwinnett Initiative that involved schools, county and city governments and the business community."

The Chamber sponsored the Strategic Leadership Visit in 2006 that took business and community leaders to Fairfax County, Va., a locale similar to Gwinnett. The goal was for participants to learn from Fairfax County's positive points and avoid making that county's mistakes in the future, Bass said.

"We want to be that one group in the community that can bring people together," Bass said. "I have never been a part of a chamber so enthusiastic and energized and that is at the heart of our success."

The Gwinnett County Chamber of Commerce has 2,800 member firms.