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Valpo Chamber is Chamber of the Year

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Top honors - again - for the Valparaiso Chamber of Commerce. The Valpo Chamber has won the 2013 Chamber of Commerce of the Year award from the Indiana Chamber Executives Association. The Valpo Chamber, with over 700 members, is the only Northwest Indiana Chamber to have ever received "Chamber of Commerce of the Year." The Chamber also won the same award in 2005.  The award is based on the U.S. Chamber’s accreditation process for local chambers and highlights accomplishments in the areas of leadership/governance, finance, advocacy and membership development.

The Valpo Chamber received the honor during the Indiana Chamber Executives Association  Annual Meeting and Awards Luncheon Friday, March 15, at the Hyatt in downtown Indianapolis.

The Valpo Chamber was selected as the "2013 Chamber of Commerce of the Year" by an independent panel of judges outside the state. The award is based on the U.S. Chamber's accreditation process for local chambers and highlights accomplishments in the areas of leadership, governance, finance, advocacy, and membership development.

Programs specifically mentioned with regard to Valparaiso being chosen were the Valpo Chamber Community Improvement Awards, recognizing local businesses for their commitment and investment in Valparaiso by improving their visual presence in the community and the Business Appreciation Luncheon, designed to thank top employers for their impact to improve and sustain a strong economic climate and employee base. The Chamber was also cited for its strong financial performance recognizing its success in new member development and consistent, high member reinvestment rates and its strong advocacy demonstrated on local, state, and national issues.

"This great honor is a testament to the staff and board leadership of the Valpo Chamber who, over time, have set the bar high for performance and effectiveness on behalf of the members," states Chamber President, Rex Richards. "Everything that we do is for the benefit of our member investors. If our members are successful, then we are successful. It's all about service."

"The staff has performed at such a high level and has delivered the most effective programs possible for the membership," says Board Chair, Jonathan Nalli, CEO, Porter Health Care System. "Our Chamber has succeeded in taking service to our members to a very high level and this statewide recognition brings great honor not only to the Valpo Chamber, but to our community, county, and region."

In addition to Chamber of the Year, the ICEA also awarded its "Communications Excellence Awards."  The Chamber received top honors of "Excellence" for the quarterly Valparaiso Magazine, annual Membership Directory and Community Resource Guide, annual U-Guide University Student Resource Guide, and the recently updated Chamber website www.valparaisochamber.org <http://www.valparaisochamber.org> ; while receiving "Honorable Mention" in the category of Annual Reports. 

"The magnitude of awards won by the Valpo Chamber was truly gratifying," adds Immediate Past Chair Jon Schmaltz, of Burke Costanza & Carberry. "To achieve this level of excellence, judged by an independent panel from outside the state, makes the Valpo Chamber the standard of excellence upon which all other chambers look to.

"The hard work and dedication of the professionals at the Chamber is apparent through the works submitted for review by the judging panel," says Shelli Williams, ICEA President. "The Valpo Chamber was up against some very well-respected competition, so to take top honors like this really says a lot."

Chamber professional designations were also given at the award luncheon. "Accredited Executive" was given to Valpo Chamber President Rex Richards while Susan Antoszewski, Marketing & Communication Specialist/Publications Editor and Kurt Gillins, Programs Director, earned the designation of "Certified Professional."

Valpo Chamber members who helped create the award winning communication pieces are: Valparaiso Magazine, Morse & Company Advertising Communications Inc., Home Mountain Printing, and Aran Kessler Photo Imaging; U-Guide, Foster Printing Service; and Website and Membership Directory, The Grossbauer Group.
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